Take Me to Church

My lover’s got humour
She’s the giggle at a funeral
Knows everybody’s disapproval
I should’ve worshipped her sooner
If the heavens ever did speak
She’s the last true mouthpiece
Every Sunday’s getting more bleak
A fresh poison each week
“We were born sick”
You heard them say it
My church offers no absolutes
She tells me “worship in the bedroom”
The only heaven I’ll be sent to
Is when I’m alone with you
I was born sick, but I love it
Command me to be well
Amen, Amen, Amen
Take me to church
I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife
Offer me that deathless death
Good God, let me give you my life
If I’m a pagan of the good times
My lover’s the sunlight
To keep the goddess on my side
She demands a sacrifice
Drain the whole sea
Get something shiny
Something meaty for the main course
That’s a fine looking high horse
What you got in the stable?
We’ve a lot of starving faithful
That looks tasty
That looks plenty
This is hungry work
Take me to church
I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife
Offer me that deathless death
Good God, let me give you my life
No masters or kings when the ritual begins
There is no sweeter innocence than our gentle sin
In the madness and soil of that sad earthly scene
Only then I am human
Only then I am clean
Amen, Amen, Amen

Before I get going, I want to clear the air on something. This song is nauseatingly and openly idolatrous. It is one of the boldest statements I’ve seen where someone really worships another human being. There is an amazingly honest confession of true idolatry here. It is so purposefully and artfully blatant that it takes my breath away. It really pains me to hear someone say they like this song.

But I like this song. I’ve been reflecting on it quite a bit for some reason – which shows how little control I really have over my own thoughts. There is something very important and very true and very honest in this song. Although it is badly misplaced, it is real heartfelt genuine worship. As such we see some great insights here about what worship really is about.

First, worship is not a theological construct or a kind of praxis. It has nothing to do with asking whether we should or shouldn’t raise our hands during music in the assembly. It has nothing to do with questions like whether the music part of the assembly is worship or the whole service is worship. The drive to ask such questions show that we are grandly missing the point. Worship is ultimate love. It is the strong and fairly well uncontrollable flow of ultimate affection for someone from the center of the heart. Affection, and even love, are weak words for this. Worship goes to an extra level – it is a complete attachment regardless of the criticisms or objections of others to someone in a startlingly exclusive way. It is an attachment in which all of my turmoil and discontent find rest in this great devotion and admiration and desire.

Worship rides above everything else. It is the giggle at a funeral. It doesn’t care a thing about the disapproval of others. And it is intensely private. God seeks intimacy with us – He waits breathlessly and eagerly for that time with His beloved. If we perceive Him as He is, we wait eagerly for the same! The only heaven we’ll ever know is intimacy with the One who truly loves us. All other pleasures combined are torture and a prison without the beauty and power and pleasure of the love of God for us. It cleans us. It heals us. It commands us to be well. And it fulfills the commandment with a willing and great joy.

But in Christ we worship at the shrine of the truth. We can tell Him our sins, and as a great lover of our very souls, He offers us “that deathless death”. He inspires the sacrifice of our works because He has first loved us. It is in the sunshine of His great love for us that we become real, that we are made clean, that we are redeemed. So we see the gathering of the saints for what it is – the intimacy of lovers eagerly meeting! This is the lavish grace which God in Christ seeks to impart to us: to awaken our souls to worship. Take me to Church Lord Jesus! Command me to be well! Amen! Amen!

10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. … 16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. … 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 19 We love, because He first loved us. – 1Jo 4:10, 16, 18-19 NASB

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