March 6, 2015
Our theatre department will be performing the musical, Bye Bye Birdie, in late April. Each spring, before their first official practice for the musical, they have a half-day retreat for the cast and crew. The theme of the retreat is generally tied to the theme of the musical, so this year it is centered on idols, the false gods we pursue and adore.
Later today, I will be leading a communion service as part of their retreat. This is the homily I will be sharing with them:
I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall not have other gods beside me. You shall not make for yourself an idol or a likeness of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them or serve them. (Exodus 20:4-6)
My wife and I stopped at the drug store last Saturday to pick up a few things: Suave Body Wash – ‘Ocean Breeze’ – infused with mineral rich sea algae extract. Clean and Clear Facial Cleanser with bursting beads and vitamin C and ginseng added. Pantene Shampoo – ‘Smooth and Sleek’ – silicone free. Pantene Conditioner – the companion ‘Smooth and Sleek’ product. Degree Anti-Perspirant – red satin with TriClear – unbeatable on white marks. Those items – along with toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, blow dryer and curling iron – are what keep Carol and I looking so good.
If I wanted to, I could take my iPhone and laptop into a room and never have to leave that room or talk to another person again. I could interact with others via text, e-mail, and Facebook. I could order in food. I could buy anything I needed via Amazon. I could stream the NFL play-offs on my laptop. If I had a question, I could Google it. And there are Apps for everything else I might need or want.
I used to have a job that defined me. Some of you may be like this now, spending all of your time focused on one thing. For me, it was work. I spend all of my time working. Even when I wasn’t at work, I was working at home; and if I wasn’t physically working, I was thinking about work. I had a hand in everything at work because I wanted to be the best. I wanted to be successful. I wanted people to point at me and say, “He is good at his job.” So I didn’t delegate and I didn’t trust. I needed to do it all. My job was 24-7. It was who I was.
Remember Cabbage Patch Kids? They were all the rage. They flew off the shelves as quickly as trucks could get them to the stores. The year they came out, some people camped out and stood in line for four days to get one. At a retail store in a small rural town, one person was trampled to death and six people injured when the doors of the store opened and people raced to grab a Cabbage Patch Kid.
I want a limo to take me everywhere like they do on Housewives of Beverly Hills. I want a house like the one I saw on MTV’s Celebrity Cribs – I think it was Lil’ Wayne’s house. I want to buy a boat. I’m a little scared of water, so I want a big boat – the bigger the better. I want to be more handsome, smarter, and funnier. Oh, and I wish I could sing.
I don’t have much to say about our reading from Exodus. There was one short passage that caught my eye. It said: You shall not make for yourself an idol. Maybe this is why people struggle with the Old Testament. Really? Idols? We don’t worship golden calves or sacrifice goats to the rain gods these days. How is modern society supposed to relate to idols? We don’t have idols anymore.