Practical Spiritually: The Transforming Power of Worship
PRACTICAL SPIRITUALITY: THE TRANSFORMING POWER OF WORSHIP
Four childhood influences shaped my adult career and personality – Boy Scouts, the Apollo moon landings, amateur “ham” radio, and the original Star Trek TV series. In ‘Trek, I didn’t identify with the alien-smooching, cocky Captain Kirk. No, it was the unflappable, resourceful, thinking man Mr. Spock who captivated me. I wasn’t any of those things, but I wanted to be. So much so that – I’m embarrassed to admit it here – I spent my seventh grade year trying to emulate his unnaturally calm composure, tediously-accurate speech, and not-so-faintly superior attitude. This while puberty hormones and teenage stupidity raged in plain sight. It wasn’t pretty. (If you tell anyone about this, I’ll say you lied.)
It could be said that I “worshipped” the Spock character. Today, we might call it being a fan or an enthusiast because “worship” sounds a little too pagan, but it’s the same thing. “Worship” comes from the Old English “worth-ship” – appreciating and celebrating the value in someone or something. In the process, I became like him. Forty-some years later, I still am. I analyze carefully before committing. I make an excellent executive officer, but not a captain. Science and technology still fascinate me. And I remain a student of human nature.
You probably have things in your life where you are an enthusiast or fan. Our heroes are important. We are designed to admire and worship. It’s not “if” we worship but “what or whom” we worship. Even atheists worship nature, pleasure, work, power, money, knowledge, or something else. We don’t have a choice in this; we will worship and pour our lives into something.
Two principles seem built into the spiritual laws of the universe:
We become like the object of our worship and are shaped by what we admire.We can rise no higher than the object of our worship.
This last principle is the catch. If we set our hearts and minds too low – like on our job or on pleasure, for instance – we set a ceiling above which we cannot rise. Jehovah God emphasized this principle by breaking through that ceiling with the first four of the Ten Commandments: No other gods, no idol statues, revere God’s name, and dedicate a rest day to the Creator. (Exodus 20) He drew the Jews’ attention through the distractions and upward to him.
Point to a ball and a dog will look at your finger. God pointed to himself through signs and miracles in the First Testament, and people looked at his finger. So he came in the person of Jesus to finally show us the One worthy of worship.
Life is full of interesting distractions, but pick something worthwhile to worship and dedicate your life to. Something more than “Live long and prosper.”