“Because here's something else that's true… there is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.”
Those words might sound like they came straight out of a Sunday sermon, but in fact they were part of a speech called “This is Water”, given by the atheist American writer David Foster Wallace. His observation of the nature of human beings led him to conclude that worship is an unavoidable instinct which we all share.
You don’t have to spend long around London in order to see some of the things which people choose to make the object of their worship. Perhaps it’s money. It could be power. Some choose beauty. I’m sure you can notice others in the people at your work, or on the tube, or in your yoga class. Every human being chooses the things which they will worship – the things which they will devote their lives to above all else. Every human being chooses their ‘god’, whether it’s a person, or an object, or a feeling…
In Exodus 20.2-3, The Lord gives His people this commandment as the first of ten: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.”
Day to day we are surrounded by hundreds of different people, worshipping hundreds of different things. But God calls His people to remember that He alone is the one who saved them, uniquely worthy of their honour. In a city of many false gods, the true God calls us to put Him first. We are to worship Him above all.
But if you’re anything like me, it’s easy for our eyes to drop, away from our beautiful God and onto other things instead, just like those around us. All too often, we get caught up chasing after the same stuff that they are chasing. We know we ought to put Him first, but it’s hard!
And this is one of the reasons we sing together on Sundays – as we sing, we are choosing to set aside those other things, to realign our hearts, and to worship the Lord above all else. It’s a simple act of worship which enables us and shapes us to better live whole lives of worship.
We sing of all that He has done to remind us that He is uniquely worthy. We repeat lines over and over to help our forgetful hearts to cling on more tightly to the truth. And we look away from the things that fight for our attention on the other six days of the week, so that we might know again in fresh depth the beauty of Jesus. It’s definitely not the only way to stay committed to the Lord. But it is a simple act of worship which helps us to live whole lives of worship.
So, as we sing together, let’s keep praying that the Lord would use those times to lift our eyes – away from false gods, and back to the God who brought us out of slavery into His goodness. We long to be a group of people who worship Him above every other thing, as He deserves.
This is a Spotify playlist with a number of songs that we sing regularly on Sundays. It's a great opportunity to make the most of worship, even during the week!