Among many of the leaders of the area of the UMC which I am located in, there is a premium placed upon worship. Worship is often described as the most important thing that we do as a Church.
A previous post touched on this idea which you can read if you would like.
It is not clear to me that there is one thing in the Church that ought to be the most important thing. To say such a thing seems more of a reflection of the priorities of the person saying it than of the reflection of God's priorities for the Church.
Can we really think that corporate worship is more important than working to eradicate slavery in our back yard? Or that teaching about the message of Jesus is more important than prayer and meditation?
How can one hold one aspect of the Church above another? Did not Paul speak of the Church being a body that is made of different parts and no one part is greater than the whole? Can the hands of service tell the heart of worship that they do not need it? Of course not.
When we elevate worship above the other aspects of Church I would submit that we are in danger of moving toward an idolatry of worship. We worship worship.
From the infamous golden calf to elevating sacrifice above mercy to worshiping Cesar, the Bible shares of of many stories of humanity struggling with idolatry.
The Church also seems to struggle with idolatry in that different parts of the Church elevate one expression of God over the others. Mainline Church elevates God, Evangelicals elevate Jesus, and Pentecostals elevate the Holy Spirit. Try talking about the 'Holy Spirit' in the mainline and you will find it to be more uncomfortable than talking about 'God'.
The Trinity is a teaching about the nature of God which says, of many other things, that no one aspect of God is greater than another. Yet, our Churches fall into the idea that there are aspects of being Church that is greater than others - namely worship is the "most important" thing we do.
What if we were to take the idea of the Trinity and apply it to the Church?
The next post will explore this a bit more...