Not to be outdone by the spectacles of previous awards shows, the 2014 Grammys made its mark on the pop-culture landscape by making the pinnacle of the show the mass marriage of 33 couples whose demographics were composed of both heterosexual and homosexual couples. Macklemore accompanied the ceremony with his song Same Love, which is considered by some to be the anthem of the marriage equality movement. This was supposed to be considered controversial and edgy, but it mostly reinforced that the music exhibited on the Grammies is so banal and underwhelming that it had to ride the hype-garnering coat-tails of a socio-political issue such as marriage equality to win viewership.
Several Christian commentators have noted that the 2014 Grammys presented, as David Fitch called it, a “liturgy for our time” as it co-opted the traditionally sacramental marriage ceremony. At the heart of this liturgy lies the modern concept of love as self-expression. On display was a relative love that rest on its foundational message of “do whatever feels right to you.” The only commonality between this “liturgy for our time” and traditional liturgies is that both are worship services. In traditional liturgies, congregants worship an “other.” In the “liturgy for our day,” congregants worship themselves.
The Bible is clear who should be the object of our worship: “I am the Lord your God…You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:2-3). The self-worship that was displayed in the 2014 Grammys was essentially the turning of a kaleidoscope that allows us to see one facet of the idolatry that has most captivated man’s heart since Adam and Eve ate the apple in the Garden of Eden. As we share in their idolatry of self-worship we are condemned as they were and face the same penalty: death that is physical and spiritual, once and eternal, driven by the wrath of God’s righteous judgment against the rebellion that consumes us.
This Sunday, we participate in a liturgy that stands in contrast to the liturgy of the dying. The liturgy of the Church has Christ at its center. In this we deny ourselves worship and focus on He who rightly deserves it, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who draws sinners out of the darkness of self-worship and into the light of His presence. As we worship, we come to His table and are presented with true love: the body and blood of Christ, who took on our death and gave us His eternal life.
“Let us love and sing and wonder
Let us praise the Savior’s name
He has hushed the law’s loud thunder
He has quenched Mount Sinai’s flame
He has washed us with His blood
He has brought us nigh to God”
Scripture: Luke 7:1-17
Sermon: The Lord of the Living
THE SACRAMENT OF THE LORD’S SUPPER
“Was Christ’s body broken for us? Let us be deeply affected with the great love of Christ. Who can tread upon these hot coals, and his heart not burn? Cry out with Ignatius, “Christ, my love, is crucified!” If a friend should die for us—would not our hearts be much affected with his kindness? That the God of heaven should die for us—how should this stupendous mercy have a melting influence upon us! The body of Christ broken—is enough to break the most flinty heart. At our Savior’s passion, the very rocks cleaved asunder. “The rocks split apart,” Matthew 27:51. He who is not affected with Christ’s love—has a heart harder than the rocks! If Saul was so affected with David’s mercy in sparing his life, 1 Samuel 24:16, how may we be affected with Christ’s kindness who, to spare our life—lost His own! Let us pray that, as Christ was fastened to the cross—so may He be fastened to our hearts.”
SERMON DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
1. Remembrance is a powerful tool for the life of the Christian. How have you seen Christ demonstrate His power over death? How might remembering this event encourage you as you or your loved ones face death?
2. How does scripture speak of both our temporal and eternal lives? What are one or two passages that you can commit to memory to help you maintain a perspective that is focused on eternity?
3. Ministering to those who are dying or suffering from the loss of a loved one requires sensitivity and compassion. What are some ways in which you can minister to those facing these situations? How does Luke 7:1-17 inform your ministry?