(Here is an excellent blog post on congregational worship written by my good friend and colleague, Scott Higa. Scott is author of thechristiannerd.com and is the youth pastor at our church.)
In all of his iterations, people have always gone to the Wizard when they wanted something.
In The Wizard of Oz Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion all have various requests for the Wizard.
In the musical Wicked, Elphaba hoped that the Wizard would “de-greenify” her.
Even in The Great and Powerful Oz, the people of Oz hoped that Oz could rescue them from the Wicked Witch.
The Wizard is something like a big, green genie, whom people call upon to fulfill their wishes and desires.
And while the Wizard is fine for Oz, he’s terrible when we bring him with us into a worship service.
Our church is in the middle of a sermon series called More than a Song. We’re looking at the idea that worship isn’t just something we do when we sing, but it’s something we do with our whole lives. God doesn’t call us to be Sunday worshipers, he calls us to be whole life worshipers, a phrase coined by our worship pastor, Doug.
Worship is all about offering our lives and ourselves to God. So when we think about a worship service, when we think about going to church, our focus needs to be on what we can give to God.
Unfortunately, though, we end up acting a lot like Dorothy when we go to church. Instead of thinking about what we can give to God, we spend the entire church service focused on what we want to get from God.
Dorothy wanted a way home and we just want to put our time in at church so that we can go home.
The Scarecrow wanted a brain and we just want a way to quiet down our brains long enough to stop worrying.
The Tin Man wanted a heart and we just want give God enough of our heart to keep from feeling guilty.
The Lion wanted courage and we just want God to take away our fear without having to fully trust him.
Going to church isn’t like going to see the Wizard. When we walk through the doors of our sanctuary, worship center or auditorium, we need to be focused on what we can bring to God.
In a worship service we can bring God our worship and praise.
In a worship service we can bring God our spiritual gifts and presence.
In a worship service we can bring God our attentive hearts and minds.
Worship isn’t about what we get but what we give. God is worthy of everything we have to give him, both in a worship service and out. So instead of viewing God as the Wizard who will give us what we want, we need to see him as he is: our great and glorious God, worthy of everything we have to give.
What keeps you from going to see the Wizard when you go to church?