You would never know this from life in most churches. Worshipers gather as though attending a football game or movie, arriving breathless from the parking lot, laughing with ushers and waving at friends-as though it were entirely natural for humans to meet the living God. No big deal to encounter the Lord of the universe … the whole affair has all the mystery of a city zoning commission meeting.
Likewise, author Annie Dillard, in her book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, asks:
Why do people in churches seem like cheerful, brainless tourists on a packaged tour of the Absolute? On the whole, I do not find Christians, outside the catacombs, have the foggiest idea of what sort of power we so blithely invoke. The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets mixing up a batch of TNT. Rather than Easter bonnets, we should all be wearing crash helmets in church.
We have tamed God, substituting a celestial version of Santa Claus who we hope will grant our wish. Our faith is little more than a pious self-help regimen. Where is the awe, the wonder, the reverence? Where is the God of Shekhinah glory, the Lord of infinite majesty? Where in our lives is the God that the Bible calls “a consuming fire”? We talk glibly about God, and, often, we talk pretentiously to God. Thomas Merton said, “If you find God with ease and comfort perhaps what you have found is not God.”
Well, let this be the place, and let us be the people, who seek with all our hearts the Living God and not some pale, blond-haired, blue-eyed imitation! Amen!
Rev. Michael Piazza