I don’t know if you’ve seen the most recent Subaru commercials. In the commercial, a dad takes his son to see the giant redwoods of California. As they stare up at one of the towering trees, the boy shrugs his shoulders and says, “I thought it’d be bigger.”
Then we find the father and son standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon gazing over its majestic beauty. The father looks down at his son. Once again his shoulders shrug. The father can’t believe it. What will it take to impress this kid?
Finally they drive through the wide open country where buffalo are roaming free. A bison walks right up to the car window and stares at the boy. The boy’s eyes become as wide as saucers. The father smiles contently. He finally was able to amaze his not-so-easily-impressed son.
It takes a lot to impress us today. I guess that’s why so many churches go to great lengths to amaze us with entertaining music and light shows, dynamic preachers and giant screen TV’s. People today want to be wowed.
During Jesus’ ministry here on earth, that was often a problem. People flocked to see Jesus because they wanted to see a miracle. They wanted to see signs and wonders. Sadly, however, few actually listened to what he said.
We see that especially the last week of Jesus’ life. He entered Jerusalem with the crowds going crazy, hoping to catch a glimpse of a powerful prophet perform an amazing miracle.
That’s actually why so many showed up five days later to angrily shout, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” To them Jesus was a fraud – a cheap magician who had tricked them. Why? Because they didn’t really listen – they didn’t want to listen – to what Jesus was teaching.
So often we too can go to church wanting to be amazed. We complain if the preacher is boring. We get frustrated if the music is bland or the worship old fashioned. We want to be wowed.
But that’s not what worship is all about. That’s not why Jesus came. He came in the form of a poor, plain carpenter. His glory was mostly hidden behind his humility and cross. If you go to church looking to be wowed by power and emotion and a laser show, eventually you are going to become disillusioned like those people in Pontius Pilate’s court.
Do you want to be truly amazed when you worship? You just need to listen carefully to the amazing message. Every Sunday in the liturgy, you get to hear how you have messed everything up and yet God loves you anyway. You get to hear how Jesus came and suffered your punishment in your place. Every Sunday you get to have an intimate conversation with God himself. You get to walk up to his altar and physically be united with him in Holy Communion. You get to see and touch the body and blood which died so you could live. You get to reach out your finger and touch the very hand of God.
Remember that the next time you park your posterior in the pew. Remember that the next time you approach his altar to receive the Sacrament. Remember that every time you feel tempted to shrug your shoulders unimpressed with worship. Your amazing God loved you with such amazing grace he came to this earth to live and die for you. He comes and shares that amazing truth with you as you hear his Word and taste his Supper. He allows you the privilege of entering his presence to praise and thank him for all he has done for you. Every Sunday, you get to have an intimate conversation with God himself. That’s simply amazing.