I turned the TV on while they were interviewing people on the red carpet. I watched as the camera spotted Ceelo Greene and decided that was enough for me. If you didn’t see it, this guy was painted completely gold. I figured, if that was the kind of spectacle I could expect for the next three hours, I didn’t want to deal with it.
And I didn’t have to deal with it. Because it was all they could talk about on the news the next morning. In a world full of hurting people. Full of terrorism. Full of political turmoil. Full of tragedies of every shape and size. In that world, the news that dominated the morning talk focused on this awards show for entertainers who make a living making music.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with celebrating talented people. But after hearing Jeff’s sermon from Sunday morning, I could not help but notice certain similarities between Athens of the 1st century and America of the 21st.
In Acts 17, we see the account of Paul visiting the Greek city of Athens. It was a city that was home to roughly 10,000 people and roughly 30,000 statues dedicated to various gods and goddesses. It was a culture of idolatry.
Is our American culture really any different? We don’t build statues and temples in the traditional sense. But we certainly find ways to worship our idols.
Don’t believe me? In a few weeks, the Oscars will be televised. Even if you don’t watch the awards show itself, just pay attention to Facebook or Twitter and see just how much that one show dominates the social media conversation.
Without necessarily realizing it’s happening, we are worshiping our celebrities. We invest in their brands. We follow their tweets. We drool over their pictures on Instagram. And often, our celebrities begin to buy into our worship. If you need an example, just take a look at Beyoncé’s performance at the Grammy’s, dressed as if she’d just stepped out of a renaissance painting of the Virgin Mary.
Worship is our response to what we value most. So how do you know where and what you worship? It’s easy. You simply follow the trail of your time, your affection, your energy, your money, and your loyalty. At the end of that trail you’ll find a throne; and whatever, or whomever, is on that throne is what’s of highest value to you. On that throne is what you worship. But the trail never lies. We may say we value this thing or that thing more than any other, but the volume of our actions speaks louder than our words. – Louie Giglio
Walking into the typical home, I don’t expect that I would see anyone turning on their televisions and literally bowing low to the ground in front of them. But where are we spending our time? Where are we spending our energy? Where are we spending our money? What are we posting to Facebook and Twitter? What will we find on the throne at the end of those trails?
In the sermon, Jeff said, “We have to see our society as a constant worship service of idols that is robbing the one, true, loving God of worship.” How do you work to counter this culture of idolatry in your own life?
“…you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” – 1 Thessalonians 1:9b-10