What do we mean when we say “the way of the world?” I suspect that each of us, if we were to examine what we mean by this word, would come up with a different kind of definition. My anecdotal observation is that both I and my fellow Christians seem to have one thing in common when it comes to how we interpret this word, namely that the idea of “the world” seems shrouded in some sense of other. In simpler terms, I’ve found that if a person does not believe one should listen to rock music then it is from the world that such music comes. If a person believes that when one visits a theater they compromise themselves, they seem to equate the theater with the world.
I punched the play button on my mp3 player and jumped into the shower, letting both the warm water, and the words of a philosophy treatise wash over me. Ayn Rand’s The Virtue of Selfishness was the day’s read, and I found it to be at once cold and rational. The message of the treatise was essentially that a person does not owe their fellow humans anything. There was room for caring and love, but only as far as it went to directly benefit the person doing the loving. I thought of all the things I had done that would make me unforgivable by those around me. I thought of all of the quirks and mess-ups that pervade my life. There, amidst the rising steam; I realized how much God’s grace pervades humanity and makes it work, and how so many relationships work because people are not cut loose when they prove to be a liability. When I compared Jesus’ story of the vineyard workers who came to work at different parts of the day, and Jesus’ story of the king who was willing to forgive his servants’ debts, and the story of the king who invites everyone to the wedding and then gives them His clothes, I found myself in awe at the chasm between His ideas and Rand’s. From then on, when I thought about that word “worldly,” it became synonymous with unforgiving. In Rand’s world, there is no room for the unfaithful spouse, there is no room for a confidant who betrays a friend, and there is no room for a teacher who, in a fit of frustration, belittles his or her student. There is no story of redemption. Grace says to the one who falls, “You have worth in who you are now, and your worth is not dependent on your future actions.”
The opening prayer today is by Billy Collins, and, though very humorous, I feel it speaks to an attitude I find all to present in my own life. I often find myself laboring for God with the woeful delusion that my labors make me worth God's time, but that I am not inherantly worth God's time. Often this attitude is brash and boastful. The God I hope for looks on me with the eyes of a patient mother, and accepts me regardless of this attitude, and that is perhaps the greatest grace of all.
Introit: Andy McKee - Rylynn
Opening Hymn: David Wesley - Amazing Grace Medley
Call to Prayer: Alison Krauss - Down in The River to Pray
Opening Prayer: Billy Collins - The Lanyard
Spoken Word: Father Ubald Rugirangoga - Forgiveness and Reconciliation in the Extreme
Steve Moor is a middle grade teacher, a youth mentor and a worship leader in Portland Oregon.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/6570