Archive for February 15th, 2022

The Trivialization of God


This meditation is written by Donald McCullough, a contemporary retired pastor and former President of San Francisco Theological Seminary. This is an excerpt from his book “The Trivialization of God.”

The trivialization of God inevitably leads to the trivialization of worship. The gods of our own creation – fitting neatly within the borders of our cause or understanding or experience and serving well our comfort or nation or success—in no way transcend us, and for this reason, they neither terrify nor attract us. Reverence can be recovered only in repentance. To repent, in the language of the Bible, means to turn around, to turn away from one thing and toward another. The good news of Jesus Christ calls us to turn from false gods toward the holy God. And this demands a constant turning—we are never finished with the movement of repentance!—in which we consciously let go of the gods of our creation and re-orient ourselves toward the God of all creation…the self-centeredness at the core of our being is tenacious. Sin will continue to rear its ugly head until the day Christ returns and brings to fulfillment the salvation we now experience only in part. Thus, we keep turning toward the light at the center the holy God of grace…When we gather for worship, whether we are immediately aware of it or not, we’re about to meet the Wholly Other…we must find ways of encouraging quiet reflection at the start of our services to enable us to remember that an august Presence is very, very near…Christian worship must say “God is everything, everything, everything.” … must always point to God, must reinforce that God has taken the initiative and called us together, that God’s grace is more important than our sin, that God’s will is more important than our edification. This God-at-the-center worship happens only as we acknowledge another priority: God’s Word is more important than our words. This Word alone—as it comes to us in Scripture, sermon, and sacrament—has the power to turn us toward God.


Written by Michael Saward (1932-2015), an English chaplain,  journalist, broadcaster, and hymnwriter.

O God our Father, we thank you that you have called us to worship you and learn of you. You alone know our needs. Satisfy them with your unchanging love. In your presence may we find comfort in sorrow, guidance in perplexity, strength to meet temptation, grace to overcome the fascination of disobedience, and courage to face up to the hostility of this rebellious world. Above all, may we meet Jesus and go out from our worship indwelt by his spirit. This prayer we ask to your glory and in his name. Amen.

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