The movie ended, the credits rolled, and the audience in the theater started clapping. I stood there and smiled at how peculiar that simple applause was. No actor, writer, director, or producer was there to receive the praise, and everyone knew that. They still clapped, though. The movie was just that good. What does this say about us as people? Something swells up inside of each of us that must be let out when we recognize and experience greatness.
In simple terms, it's praise and worship. It's an outward expression of an inner condition. It's an overflow of the heart, and it happens everywhere. Football games, movie theaters, mountain tops, and car rides. We scream and shout, sing and clap, because we have the ability to feel deeply, to experience meaning, to get excited about something bigger than ourselves.
The reality: we are always worshiping something. Regardless of beliefs, the prioritization of what we assign value to is an act of worship. The best (and simplest) definition I've heard over the years is, "the rhythm of revelation and response." It's a reaction. In a Christian context, it's what you do in light of who God is and what He's done. The object of what we worship ultimately shapes who we become and how we spend our time, so it's no surprise that A.W. Tozer wrote that the most important thing about a person is his or her idea of God. What we assign the highest value to, be it God or something else, determines the identity we grow into as worshiping creatures.
What makes you cry tears of joy? What elements of movies and books and stories leave us wanting more, craving a deeper reality, longing for more meaning? It's redemption. Like I mentioned last week, we see these microcosms of the greatest story throughout creation. The invisible qualities, the divine nature, and the eternal power show up everywhere (Romans 1:20), and from the beginning of time we've been hard-wired to sense it.
The crossroads we arrive at, the greatest challenge, the life-long pursuit...is to respond appropriately.