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“It’s in worship that we learn to take the right things for granted.”
-Stanley Hauerwas

This is one of those truths that isn’t merely true. It is transformingly true. In other words, it’s not just interesting—it is actually relevant and it will change you if you believe it.

It will change you, as the quote says, by teaching you to take the right things for granted. This is what I take it to mean: in worship our values are adjusted. We take things for granted when we don’t value them, and how often do we fail to value God? We fail to value God and his love, his kindness, justice, plan of redemption, and a million other good things about him. What worship does, then, is awaken our minds to who God is and what He has done. But perhaps even more importantly, it awakens our hearts through beautiful music and imagery. Our cold, bloodless hearts, trying to sustain our bodies on successful careers and endless possessions, extravagant vacations and constant entertainment…when we are awakened to God, these hard hearts are made flesh. They beat with new life. And we take for granted the right things—the jobs, possessions, vacations, and entertainment that we think (insanity!) we really need. Worship, therefore, causes a tectonic shift in values—one that awakens our hearts to the true value of God and allows us to take for granted the things we should.

What we need is to encounter God and value him. When we do that, we are joyful and capable of loving God and loving others, and we glorify God, which is what we were made to do. That is practicality at its finest, and I think Hauerwas is right in saying that this is just what worship does.

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