The bible is constantly warning us against idolatry. It’s an old word and one that has little resonance in our culture. Why? Because our culture is strewn with the litter of little idols, their plastic impoverished thingness of little use to anyone, clogging rivers and sloshing at ocean’s depth, piled in landfills: the things we gave our hearts to but in turn could provide us nothing but some immediate titillation of the new. Idolatry is simply worshipping that which is not worthy of your or my devotion. If “worship” is a problematic word in that sentence then simply substitute “following after.”
On Sunday we enter a sacred space to bring ourselves before the One, the Holy and Just, the Compassionate and Loving God who is worthy of our worship and whose Being fills us with being. This act of worship is a tossing overboard of idols; a clearing of the decks of those things that compete for our heart’s devotion but instead burden us; a cleansing of the debris and dust of a world-in-love-with-death that pelts us with its hatreds and assorted curses. No wonder then upon leaving the church’s sanctuary, we feel lightened, relieved and renewed. We have exchanged the cheap copper coins of our culture for life. We have untied the loads of assumptions and presumptions and left them behind. We have picked up the gentle yoke of Christ instead.
Find a sacred space and confide and reside in the One who alone gives you peace, transforms hate into love and cures us of our warmongering. I like this poem from the Sufi poet, Rumi, that speaks to this idolatrous tendency of our culture and time entitled, “You Embrace Some Form,” translated by Daniel Liebert in the book, The Rumi Collection, edited by Kabir Helminski.
you embrace some form saying, I am this
By God, you are not this
Or that or the other
you are Unique One
you are throne and palace and king
you are bird and snare and fowler
like water in jar and river
are in essence the same
you and spirit are the same
your every idol
your every thought-form
in your formlessness