Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Reflection on the Worship of a Crystal Ball

From Vanity Fair via Pinterest

You can tell how much someone really desires something by the lengths to which they will go in order to gain the object of their affection. Likewise, you can tell how little someone desires something by what it takes to get them to abandon the object of their affection. For instance, how many of us stay home on Sunday morning if it is snowing (in South Carolina in particular), or if we have out of town guests, or if the kids have an athletic practice or competition, or if some other distraction comes up to keep us away from church?

Would we still go to church if we had to endure what the crowds attending the annual New Year's celebration in New York City had to put up with just for the chance to watch their beloved crystal ball drop at midnight?

(Fox News) –  "The sea of horn-tooting, hat-wearing humanity that filled the Crossroads of the World was part celebration, part endurance sport because post-Sept. 11 security measures force spectators into pens at least 12 hours in advance, with no food, no warmth and no place to go to the bathroom."
If your parish hall had no bathroom, I suspect many an elderly gentleman would stay home on Sunday. I wonder where the people went when Jesus fed the five thousand? Did the disciples think to rent port-a-potties?

"'We've got adult diapers. We're wearing them right now,' said 14-year-old Amber Woods, who came with friends from the New York City's suburbs to experience the event for the first time." 
Great idea! I think preachers should hand these out on those Sundays when they know that their sermons will run long.

"'Every time I say, it's the last. But then I come back,' said Yasmina Merrir, a 42-year-old Washington, D.C., resident attending her fourth Times Square ball drop. In 2009, the cold was so bad, she got hypothermia. Her legs swelled up like balloons."
Now that is dedication, or love, or something beyond words. Just imagine such burning desire for worship from your fellow parishioners! They might even start some of those ancient spiritual practices such as,
"She was also fasting and not drinking anything to deal with the lack of restrooms. As for the cold, she recommends vigorous dancing for as long as you can stand on your feet."
Maybe we have been making things too warm and cozy at church on Sunday mornings. After all, if the central heating and air go out you can expect that people will howl. If NYC crowds are any indication of the human willingness to give things up for objects of desire, then why don't we see huge crowds at church on Sunday mornings? We should be able to tolerate the most dreadful of all sermons if we really cared about God. I can only assume that the reason we place church as a low priority is the age old problem of our failure to love God as we are meant to do:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." Matthew 22:37 (NKJV)
 Of course, when you are freezing cold, needing to pee, and there is nowhere to go, you might be excused from that commandment for a little while because as one attendee of the NYC crystal ball worship ceremony this year noted,
"At a point," she said, "your brain is not working anymore."
 Rather, when we are more desirous of earthly things than we are of the Lord, our brains are working quite well and in overtime... against Him.
"Seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness - Singly aim at this, that God, reigning in your heart, may fill it with the righteousness above described. And indeed whosoever seeks this first, will soon come to seek this only." Wesley's Notes for Matthew 6:33


  1. I think it's Lady Gaga catching a reflection of herself.

    1. She (or perhaps we) would be both Echo and Narcissus. Of Echo, "Scorned, she wanders in the woods and hides her face in shame among the leaves, and from that time on lives in lonely caves. But still her love endures, increased by the sadness of rejection. Her sleepless thoughts waste her sad form, and her body’s strength vanishes into the air. Only her bones and the sound of her voice are left. Her voice remains, her bones, they say, were changed to shapes of stone. She hides in the woods, no longer to be seen on the hills, but to be heard by everyone. It is sound that lives in her." Of Narcissus, "Fool, why try to catch a fleeting image, in vain? What you search for is nowhere: turning away, what you love is lost! What you perceive is the shadow of reflected form: nothing of you is in it." Ovid: The Metamorphoses Book III