Preparing for Worship: The Allure and Menace of Riches (Psalm 49)

Preparing for Worship: The Allure and Menace of Riches (Psalm 49)

John Haralson   •   June 24, 2016

We live in a profoundly spiritual age, but not in any good way. Huge swaths of American culture are driven by manic spiritual anxiety and relentless supernatural worry. 

―Joseph Bottum, An Anxious Age: The Post-Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America 

We are the most in-debt, obese, addicted and medicated adult cohort in U.S. history. 

―Brené Brown, in the TED Talk “The Power of Vulnerability”

Dear Friends,

I took this picture on Monday. I have a friend that lives in Vancouver who took me and another friend on a day trip through the Howe Sound on his boat. This is a photograph of Mt. Garibaldi, one of the active volcanoes on North America’s west coast. I took this on my smart phone, which has more computing power than the spacecraft we used to go to the moon in the 1960’s. I had to put down my beer, which was quite delicious, to take the photo.

We live in a thriving region in the wealthiest culture the world has ever known. We have opportunities for travel, education, work, and leisure that were in prior generations either unimaginable or only possible for the elite.

You’d think our culture and our lives would be marked by gratitude and contentment. 

Well, not so much.

We are also a culture deeply marked by anxiety. We are profoundly worried about money, our futures, our jobs, our kids, the survival of our planet, and about who will win November’s Presidential election. And, no amount of money can seem to make our unease subside. 

This week, we will be turning our attention to Psalm 49. Psalm 49 makes a direct connection between trusting in riches and a persistent, gnawing anxiety that can never be quieted. It is a powerful and fitting word to our present culture and our individual lives.

And, Psalm 49 doesn’t just give us a bleak diagnosis of our addiction to wealth and the resulting disquiet. It gives us a picture of where true rest and peace is found―trusting in God and his grace for us.

So, if you’re anxious, come worship with us on Sunday. There will be good news for you.

This Sunday: The Allure and Menace of Riches, Psalm 49
Liturgy is here. I hope to worship with you.


P.S. Keep in mind that we will only have one worship service on July 3, at 9am.