God thirsts to be thirsted after. — St. Augustine
The phrase “yada yada” is part of our cultural lingo. It comes from a classic Seinfeld episode in which members of the TV sitcom begin substituting the words “yada, yada, yada” to shorten up stories they didn’t want to discuss. Yet, it also seems to reflect a bad habit that we can fall into when we worship on Sunday morning. We start out singing praise music or hymns with the best of intentions, but our minds race and the words slowly morph from words of praise into phrases we mouth but don’t really consider. At that point, the choruses mean as much to us as if we were singing “yada, yada, yada”. When we have a difficult time making the most of our worship, U2’s “Gloria” [Lyrics] [iTunes] helps us get perspective. The early U2 song, from their October album, offers us a glimpse into the nature of the God, showing us why God is due our praise as well as how we can respond to him.
Have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Flick the channel to a Christian television show or listen in the pews of most churches today, you’ll undoubtedly hear those words. The idea behind this statement is that Christianity offers more than just following the rules of a distant deity. Instead, in a very real way, you can enter into a dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ. The song “Wild Honey”, for example, reinforces this idea of a intimate relationship with the God of the universe. Such a message is an incredible fact of the Christian faith. However, the downside to stressing the personal nature of our relationship with God is our tendency to casualize our relationship with God and treat him like we would a mere mortal. We can find ourselves glazing over the reality that we are speaking of the all-powerful, all-holy God and creator of the universe. U2’s song “Gloria” brings us back to reality of the awesomeness of God. Its simple lyrics are an expression of worship, an act of showing God that you’re in awe of and devoted to him. The song’s chorus, sung in Latin, gets to the heart of why God is worthy of our worship:
In te domine
Oh, Lord, loosen my lips.
The Latin text translates to “Glory in you God, exalted glory”. Notice that Bono sings “glory in you”, not “glory to you”. That’s because the word glory is an indescribable quality of God, something that is part of who God is, not just flowery words of praise from you and I. When we speak of God’s glory, we’re talking about worshipping his beauty, perfection, and honor. Worship, however, is something that often isn’t easy for us, particularly as we live in a post-modern world that loves to ridicule and denigrate those in authority over us. As a result, the reason why we are called to worship God can be confusing. A stock response you’ll probably hear if you ask many Christians is “We’re supposed to” or “The Bible says so”. Based on that answer, however, God ends up coming across much like a bully dictator who wants his ego fed by demanding his subjects swear allegiance to him. In reality, nothing is further from the truth.