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Friday, September 19, 2008
Worship as a place of deep bonding attachment

In the incarnation, God unites with our humanity in Jesus Christ. . . . Reflection on the incarnation and its connection to every aspect of God’s story is the missing link in today’s theological reflection and worship. The link is found in these words: God does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. . . . God himself, the incarnate Word, takes up residence (unites) with our fallen self so that he, God, now as a man, can reverse the human condition.

Robert E. Webber, Ancient-Future Worship: Proclaiming and Enacting God’s Narrative. (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2008), 35-36

While certainly this quote is about the significance of Story in worship, I see something else here. It's the issue of attachment. This notion of "God himself, the incarnate Word, [taking] up residence (uniting) with our fallen self" in order to reverse the human condition. We speak of worship as a place of intimacy, which is often a "feeling" oriented word. And I in no way want to minimize the importance of feeling in worship. Feeling is a fruit of what is really happening. The real issue, I think, is the deep emotional bonding that can take place in worship, creating a healthy and whole secure attachment to God and others.

So often, worship conveys the idea that the reversal of the human condition is up to us. In the way we lift up the Son of God, we often unwittingly set him up as a distant object, an ideal, that we are to try an conform our life to. This makes the focus more about behavior than identity which fosters legalism and keeps us locked in the pride-shame cycle. All the while, we are like child-slaves who thirst for the promised freedom of adoption. And isn't this the essence of sin and addiction and every other vice-- searching for freedom in false solutions.

This worshipful dwelling in the deep bonded place of attachment is what forms our true identity. Think about baptism-- going under the water, united with him in his death, enacting our own death, and coming out of the womb-like water alive in his life, raised in his resurrection. Discipleship becomes learning how to abide in this place all the time.
posted by John David Walt | at 9/19/2008 09:42:00 PM



Blogger Kendra said...

Amen! I used to feel so broken and bruised as God’s will in my life unfolded through ministry. New places, new people…and no place to call home. In my world kindness and love were separate. I knew He loved me and I trusted that, but I didn’t expect to feel “at home” with Him. Several years ago I was taught that I wasn’t an orphan, that His intimacy in me was different than I had known. Now the bumps and bruises as I was taken from place to place to place … the threat was gone and I wasn’t riding the wagon that God was pulling over rocky terrain. I was walking hand in hand with Him as He did things I could have never done on my own. Knowledge of His indwelling and intimacy HAS to come from Biblical teaching. We cannot embrace what He has done unless He is involved in the unveiling of His glory.

2:26 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh my goodness... exactly - finding our identity in Christ and abiding in Him... what does that look like when it's customized to my heart?
And, how sweet it is when we have intimacy with Him through our seeking process and then what He reveals to us in His Word! I love those moments so much!

Prayers for you as you take the Light of His Word to Portland...

- Sandra R.

6:00 PM EDT  
Blogger JAy. said...

Great Post!

Couldn't agree more with your thoughts of power from connectedness, not power from within. I struggled for years through a miriad of weaknesses before I finally realized and accepted that I didn't have to have the answers, the plans, or the ability to turn my life around and be more Christ-like. I just need to be willing to let the Holy Spirit lead me.

Now to keep practicing that willingness!

God Bless,

2:37 PM EDT  
Blogger Rob said...

great post, jd; now you're talking. your post resonates with me more than the "who gets the verbs" post, (comment on me, not your posts). I think this is the challenge - recognizing/experiencing/declaring God's transcendence and immanence in our worship.

9:34 PM EDT  
Anonymous john page said...

Like these thoughts!
What if we are blocked from attachment to God (sin, abandonment issues, etc)? Do we miss out on "deep worship?"

Would trying to get closer to God alleviate this or only deepen the pain of disattachment?

Just wondering...

5:11 PM EDT  
OpenID liturgicsjay said...

you make it sound so simple

11:27 PM EDT  
Blogger Greg Arthur said...

I tagged you.


9:28 AM EDT  

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