It was recently put to me that “worship suggests God is extremely vain.”
I was very stressed trying to respond to the suggestion God is vain in a way that would make everyone happy, but when I heard Andrew Willis at Barking the obvious hit me like a sledgehammer, that is not my job! The greatest mistake any preacher can make is to try to make God more palatable, more attractive, more likeable and more acceptable. I watch conference speakers describe a cuddly god who is ever-loving, ever-forgiving and ever-there for them, but they are out of their ever-loving minds because that is like saying, here is my keyboard and then only playing on three keys. Anyone who tells you about a God who never gets angry, never judges, never gets jealous, never wrecks your plans and never punishes is telling you about an image they have created of a false and non-existent God. God is God whether you think he is vain or not, love him, hate him, deny him or insult him God is God all by himself!
Now, having said that…
No musician wants to create music only to stand on a stage and discover no one enjoys or appreciates it. That musician wants them to enjoy it and will receive a level of fulfilment out of the experience. This is mutually perpetuating as both the musician and audience enjoy together as one and if that musician is rewarded with adulation, praise and even finance, doesn’t he deserve it? An applause, ovation or a crowd erupting with excitement, is it truly vain to hope for such things? The same is so in marriage. Relationships with our wives would soon sour if, as well as serving them as we devoted husbands do, we did not also in a sense ‘worship’ them: “You look lovely in that…” “Of course your bum doesn’t look big in that,” if she is a white woman, or “truly the Lord has blessed you,” if she is black.
“It’s not vanity. It’s all about setting down the rules of the relationship. God humbled himself and became a man – born in a stinky manger – and he was still worshipped. If I wanted a relationship with a nuclear reactor I would need to humble myself and put on the radioactive gear. I’d respect the nature of radiation and not treat it as if it were nothing.” Marco Palmer.
Within everyone there is a desire to worship. Some ‘worship’ money, sex, power, stuff, music, motorbikes, reputation and even themselves, but it is our personal vanity and arrogance when we the creation wants the creator to serve us. It is not the job of the clay to tell the potter what to do! Worship says more about us than God. He can exist in total fulfillment whether we worship him or not, he will outlive us and carry on as God regardless of how we perceive him. On the subject of vanity I would suggest that the real issue is not that God is extremely vain in accepting it, but that we are extremely vain in dismissing or grudging it!
Autistic blind 10-year old – slide to 3:20