I don’t know if you’re a Bob Dylan fan. But I am. He has a knack for rousing the human heart with his lyrics. Some suggest he is a prophet and with this, I agree. He has spoken of the things that matter in ways that led to cultural revolutions and that have produced a devoted following. The name of this blog is the same as a song on his latest masterpiece album, Rough and Rowdy Ways. “I made up my mind to give myself to you” is a great song and I encourage you to have a listen.
Why am I pointing you to this song? Because this is a deep and profound song about worship and on Sunday I’ll be speaking to you about idolatry, which is all about worship. It’s a topic that has been on my mind for some time and I’m eager to share with you the things I’ve been learning about it through the Gideon story.
So, what do I want you to know before Sunday?
The first thing I want you to know is that we were made to worship. That means that we are always in the process of giving ourselves to someone or something. In the scriptures and in our faith, we encounter the God that made us and instructs us to give ourselves over only to Him. Why should we? Because this is the proper orientation of the human being; to be directed in a way that our lives are found in God. You’ll recognize this in the very first commandment; You shall have no other gods but me.
We are always roaming to tap some eternal itch embedded in our hearts and we do this by giving ourselves over to things. This is an act of worship. The giving of ourselves. The genesis of this impulse is found, in Genesis, funny enough. It began in the garden, if you recall when we reached for the forbidden fruit. In one way, it wasn’t just Eve and Adam that ate. It was you and me, we all reached, took and ate. And thus, we became idolaters for we wanted to be like God. As a result, we became restless wanderers.
The second thing I want you to know that idolatry is subtle and happens when we aren’t even aware of it. Being a good citizen can be idolatrous. So can taking extra special care of yourself and being patriotic for your country. You see we have our tidy religion in our free country and we, for the most part, have our ducks in a row. We have comfort and certainty, and security. And this is pleasing, like the fruit in the garden, but is it faithful? We tend to wander without looking and we can wander into the arms of waiting idols if we are not careful.
In the scriptures, we meet a very loving but dangerous God that woos us into wholehearted trust and fidelity. “He not safe, but He is good”, as was said about Aslan in the Chronicles of Narnia. We spend most of our lives trying to remove anxiety, but I’m convinced that there is holy anxiety that leads to peace that we may need to find by letting go of some things. But fear not…. Because…
The last thing I want you to know is that there is hope! The topic of idolatry can be a heavy one, so I’d like for you to come with hope in your heart and on your mind. In fact, put it on your lips too, why not! For there is reason to rejoice, because God constantly interrupts our idolatry. His covenant with us is everlasting, even though our hearts are prone to wander. So be hopeful as we worship on Sunday. Perhaps I can encourage you with these lyrics from Bob Dylan’s song:
Well, my heart’s like a river, a river that sings
Just takes me a while to realize things
I’ve seen the sunrise, I’ve seen the dawn
I’ll lay down beside you when everyone’s gone
I’ve traveled from the mountains to the sea
I hope that the gods go easy with me
I knew you’d say yes, I’m saying it too
I’ve made up my mind to give myself to you
So, come join us, this Sunday and I promise it’ll be interesting with a little poetry, a parable, and some exposition of the bible and current culture as we explore the topic of idolatry.