I am surmising this morning a helpful thought that I stumbled upon during my sermon preparation this weekend. My text was Hosea chapter 5 and I had concentrated my thoughts on verse 5 which stated the arrogance of the people of Israel. I was looking therefore at national, religious and individual arrogance. The overriding theme of Hosea is that the people lack knowledge of God and my conclusion on the secret of overcoming our arrogance was to quote U2 “if you wanna kiss the sky you gotta learn how to kneel.” Humility and particularly humility in our relationship with God seems to be the core of the lesson.
Which led me into my surmising and maybe it is blatantly obvious and I am coming late to the game! I started looking at the system of God’s creation. I never looked at it like that before. Like the solar system or environmental system or the physiological system that the body works to I surmised a spiritual system. When I took a look at our human origins, as the Bible gives us insights into in Genesis chapters 1 to 3, I found another system where human beings are created into a system that includes relationships with Creator, creatures and creation.
What those Genesis stories tell us is that from that well balanced system, with the fullness of humanity found in its rightful place within it, humans attempted to reach beyond the system by trying to be like God and thus ended up less than their fullness, with the entire system knocked out of kilter. American writer Frederick Buechner expresses this in his definition of sin in his book Wishful Thinking. He speaks of how sin pushes us away and creates distance from fellow humans, God and the creation. This definition fits into my idea that we have an out of kilter system.
To avoid arrogance and pride, the attitude that could be seen as a cause of our sin or putting it another way rebellion from our place in the system, we need to put God back in his place and as humans fall in behind. Christian belief is that Jesus came, lived, died and was resurrected to do just this, to give us the opportunity to put the system back in its rightful order. Worship is therefore about human beings singing, praying, pondering Scriptures to remind us of who God is, who we are in the light of that and how we therefore relate to God, fellow humans and the environment. Real worship is when we put God in his rightful place, acts of worship are the tools we have to help us do it.