I was standing among thousands of other worshipers this past week, caught up in an environment full of excitement, expectation, loud music, and dazzling lights. Though many of us were strangers, we quickly bonded over the saying and singing of many common liturgies. Even if people weren’t able to worship in person, the event was broadcasted and live streamed so that people all over the world could join in… and help cheer their team to victory.
This past weekend I attended an NBA game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Oklahoma City Thunder. I showed up to the game early with many others, hoping to get a fist bump, an autograph, or a selfie with one of the gigantic, talented basketball players. As players emerged from the tunnel for warmups, they were showered with adorations, thanksgivings and supplications. “You are awesome! Can I get a selfie with you? I’m your biggest fan!” (We were only a “confession” away from completing the ACTS prayer method.) People held out shoes, shirts, and sharpies so that these revered gods could gift them a scribbled signature. During the game, there were a number of alley-oops, full-court passes, monstrous dunks, and fade-away threes that left the crowd in awe and wonder. There was certainly a lot of hoopla and hype.
As I stood there, I realized that what was happening in the crowd was worship. I was challenged in that moment. Yes, I appreciate and respect what the players offered to the crowd this past Friday night on a basketball court. But to only give credit, adoration and worship to these mere men is shortsighted. It is far more worthy to contemplate God’s creativity and generosity in gifting His creation with so many talents. It was an incredible experience, seeing someone so gifted at something that is beyond the wildest dreams of my abilities. But it was another thing altogether to let my worship go beyond the temporary, finite, earthly reality to the eternal, infinitely spiritual reality of God. It was good for my heart to be amazed by and stirred by that.
As we approach this holiday season, there is a lot of hoopla and hype. There are plenty of fine and good things to be excited about. But don’t let it stop there. Don’t let the worship merely reverberate in the space you are in. Allow it extend to the Being who has made it all. Rather than celebrate the shadows, acknowledge and treasure the substance of it all. May the things we rejoice in and enjoy this holiday season truly point us to the good, creative and wonderful God who is above all!