After the final concert before Easter, in Calvary Chapel, Las Vegas, I stayed in the Hard Rock hotel for a day and attended the Palm Sunday service in Calvary Chapel. Wandering around the hotel waiting to be collected by one of the pastor’s of the church, I couldn’t help reflecting that I was swimming against the tide, or more appropriately, marching to the beat of a different drum.
It’s such a mistake to suggest that 21st century people don’t want to worship, because right there in front of me was almost every extreme of contemporary idolatry you could imagine.
People were gambling at the tables, drinking in the bar and ordering their drinks from scantily clad waitresses, eating in the restaurant, drinking coffee in Starbucks, pumping iron in the gym, sunbathing at the pool, buying stuff in the shops, and of course all this in the surroundings of much rock music memorabilia paying tribute to many of the rock icons of the last 40 years. In the midst of all this, I was off to celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday!
To reinforce my thinking, the pastor preached about ‘Why we worship’ and amongst other verses reminded us of the first 2 commandments:
“Do not worship any other gods besides me. “Do not make idols of any kind, whether in the shape of birds or animals or fish. You must never worship or bow down to them, for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God who will not share your affection with any other god! Ex. 20:3-5
In case us believers get too self-righteous, we need to remember that idolatry can replace worship of the Lord very easily in the life of the church and of Christians today. We can idolise the preacher, the worship leader, the rock band, doctrine, denomination, family, partner, perhaps most of all just like those who aren’t yet believers we can fall foul of materialism, consumerism, and even idolise ourselves, our own ambitions, and our own self-determination.