Catholic Worship Leader Matt Maher on the Misplacement of Affection
- “Our art should be reflecting God in the world.”
- How can we better ensure that what we are creating is a reflection of God in the world?
Idol worship is something that people of faith have literally fought against since the beginning of the Church. In this Worship Sound Bite, father, husband, Catholic worship leader, songwriter, and Christian artist Matt Maher discusses the beauty of art and the temptation to “worship” what the artist has created.
The very first act of God was an act of worship.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
According to Grace Communion Seminary, they’ve defined an act of worship as:
“Worship is the giving of our entire self, our thoughts and our emotions, to God’s use. All of life is an act of submission, an act of worship. Our service to God is not centered on a time or a temple, but is done whenever and wherever we are, because we are the temple of God.”
Genesis 1:1 is the foundation of the call in Revelation 14:7 for all people to “worship Him who made heavens and earth.” In this excerpt from Dr. Chuck Fromm’s, Models of Communication, we are reminded of how we make the story of our creator our own:
“We become part of salvation history, we make the story our own, by hearing it READ ALOUD IN WORSHIP and responding to it with heart and soul and voice. In the act of giving voice to the divine words of scripture through speech and song, we breathe life into the text + It is God’s breath (which is to say, His Spirit) that makes human life from the dust of His creation (Genesis 2:7).”
– Dr. Chuck Fromm, Models of Communication
Matt Maher also reminds us in this worship sound bite how important it is that our affection does not get misplaced on to flesh but instead focuses on the one CREATOR, God.
“Art reflects God in the world.”
– Matt Maher
We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. How can we better ensure that what we are creating is a reflection of God in the world? Where have you seen this happen well? Where could this be done better?
See you in the comments.
Here are some other worship sound bites where we explore a similar topic:
- Pat Barret, “Are we worshiping worship more than we worship God?”
- Jenn Johnson, “Continually casting your crowns.”
I mean, I definitely think that the age old temptation of the created is that- this is what it means, to be made in the image and likeness of God means a lot of things, like we’re image bearers. But one of the things is we get to be creative, which is God is creative, and so we get to do it.
And sometimes our affection gets misplaced on the things that we create rather than the creator. So art is a great example of that. Art is a- it’s a transcendental. It reflects goodness, beauty and truth. But it’s a- and it’s not just a means to an end. It in and of itself is something good, true and beautiful.
And it reflects God in the world. So you can have art that’s just great for art’s sake. And it’s- it can be sacred. The problem, though, becomes when the act of Thanksgiving or the act of gratefulness, not from the unbeliever but from the believer, stops at the created work. Now there can be a deep appreciation for it. There can be a deep appreciation for a cup of coffee.
I mean, I love a good cup of coffee in the morning and oftentimes I’ll do, and that first sip can be a moment of gratefulness just to be alive for the gifts of life. It’s like, thank you, God. But that’s the point. The point was it led to a moment where I said, thank you, God, I acknowledged Him. He got brought into the conversation.
And I think sometimes what happens in worship music is that the conversation stops with what we’re doing and so it becomes about what we’re doing versus always remembering the fact that worship is a- is a heavenly activity that we’re trying to participate in. It’s happening right now, you and I aren’t even taking part of it, it’s happening.
We don’t need to do anything. But what we do on Sunday mornings is we create an environment where, once again, we can somehow, you know, bypass the laws of physics and be in two places at once because our bodies are here. But somehow our souls are now united with heaven and earth. And that’s a- is real. It’s not just imaginative.
It’s- that’s what happens when we worship, you know, the space available to inhabit on earth gets real thin. And so the temptation is that our eyes do get too fixated on material things that- how people look, how people sound, what kind of gear do we have? What kind of gear don’t we have? What kind of songs are we singing and what kind of songs aren’t we singing?
And that’s all- that’s all happened before. That’s the good news is that the church has struggled with this for 2,000 years and probably will continue to in some way, shape or form. So I do think that those temptations are real and you need to acknowledge them. And just like everything else, just lay it at the foot of the cross.
Idolatry is pretty common pitfall. So if you’ve made the act more important, then the heart behind it will confess it move on, you know, be forgiven, move on and change. Do something to change it. Do something to change your attitude. Do something to- or pray for a change of attitude. Pray for a change of heart.
I mean, that’s what conversion is, right? That’s it. And so just because I’m standing up on a platform singing songs doesn’t mean that I don’t need to do the same thing. And Lord knows how many times I’ve needed to confess having a misplaced heart when it came to all the stuff, you know, and, you know, that’s- it’s cyclical
I feel like. Some of these struggles, they come back around in different seasons of life.
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Since his 2008 major label debut, Matt Maher has become a staple in the artistic and songwriting community. A nine time-GRAMMY® nominee and three time-GMA Dove Award winner, he has garnered multiple radio successes, writing and recording songs such as his Top 5 CCLI song “Lord, I Need You” and the chart-topping radio single “Because He Lives (Amen).” Along with other hits such as “Hold Us Together,” “Christ Is Risen,” “All The People Said Amen,” and “Your Grace Is Enough,” Maher has written or co-written five No. 1 radio singles.