Saturday, 5 September 2009

FORUM '09: Worshipping the Creator God

Fresh from a week in a wet, muddy Shropshire field (see below the pool of water outside our tent and the trench digging heroics of Jos!) of teaching, worship and fellowship I wanted to write a bit about what I learnt and experienced. I hope that this might encourage fellow Christians or to help non-believers understand a bit more about the Christian faith and what Christianity teaches.

The morning course of seminars I went on was called Worshipping the Creator God (surprisingly about living in a way to worship God who created us!). The first thing to notice is the difference between the Christian God and other gods or deities. In comparison to Eastern religions, who aim to become one with the cycle of the universe through reincarnation, New Age religions, which aim to become self sustaning and one apart from society or even Islam, Allah being a self-serving and self-sufficient god who is alone as one, the Christian God is a very personal God: in being three in one (the Trinity), He longs for us to be a part of that union (John 17:21).

This same God who wants to be in a relationship with us 'created the Heavens and the Earth' (Genesis 1:1), including us. We know that His creation was 'very good' (Genesis 1:31) and as creator, He owns everything and knows the exact purpose for everything in creation (Psalms 95:3-5, Isaiah 45:9-12), much like the inventor of the engine knows exactly what each part does and what it is there for, what it is meant to do. Even better than this, He created things excessive in beauty and variety, as well as for function: 'pleasing to the eye and good for food' (Genesis 2:9). For example, in The Matrix they survive on a disgusting, grey slop which contains all the nutrients they need to survive but is just horrendous to eat. In contradiction to this, God has created food for us which looks tasty, tastes tasty but also gives us what we need to survive! God rules over all, His rule is good, effective and comprehensive (He knows human beings inside and out, including us!).

Aswell as creating everything in such a way, He continually sustains His creation (Hebrews 1:2-3, Psalms 104:23-30) as He rules. He provides the rain for the plants to grow, the sunlight for us to see, the oxygen for us to breathe with the same power He created the stars in the sky and the hole universe. Everything in existence was created 'by Him and through Him' (Colossians 1:16) for His glory so that we can recognise Him as God and give Him the praise He deserves. It might seem arrogant to have created for His own glory but I've yet to meet someone who doesn't agree that nature is masterful, incredible and ultimately glorious. As Muhammad Ali once rightly said, you can only be arrogant if your arrogance is unfounded. We should worship God for his provision, the fact that His rule doesn't rule us out, but completely and personally rules us in and simply that He has created the universe, including us, and continues to sustain us even to this day.

Now, everyone can relate the act of worship to music and songs that Christians might sing, or prayers of praise and worship, but God also calls us to worship in the way we live. He created us 'in His image' (Genesis 1:26), which doesn't necessarily mean God is a human being lookalike, but more in character: God can love, He has a love for justice and a hatred for sin, He is creative, He has emotion, and so do we. Unofortunately, we do not always take advantage of these traits as we should; we don't always love, we often sin and are not fair, we let our emotion take over us with bad consequences. Since God is our creator, and He knows exactly how we are to function, we should live in that way (a DVD is meant for a DVD player, not to be put in a microwave!). To help us and show us that way, God came to Earth in the form of Jesus.

If we put our trust in Jesus, we can become a part of that union I mentioned at the beginning; to be 'in Christ' (1 Corinthians 1:30) and have Christ in you. Jesus was the ultimate example of humaness and to have Him in us will lead us to our full potential as humans; the way God wants us to live and the way we were originally meant to live. By living how God created us to live is in itself worshipping Him, giving glory to Him through His creation, and we can and should do everything we do to glorfiy Him; more than just a God honouring morality but a God honouring life.

I'm sorry if this has been long or alternatively seems it has missed bits out, I've tried to keep it down but it has been hard with all the stuff we covered. I hope it has been helpful, encouraging or inspirational, if you have any questions, please do ask either over comment or at http://www.blogger.com/joel_murray@hotmail.co.uk.