In 2002, the English author Neil Gaiman won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for a book entitled American Gods.
In the novel, Gaiman weaves a picture of contemporary America in which new gods (deities like Media, the goddess of television, and Technology Boy, the personification of the Internet) are on the rise.
At the same time, older gods (like Odin, the Norse god of knowledge and wisdom, and Anubis, the Egyptian god of the dead) are being pushed aside. These ancient gods are no longer worshipped; in fact, they are in danger of being completely forgotten.
American Gods manifests Gaiman’s knack for telling rollicking, often creepy stories, even as he draws his readers into the grip of a provocative question. In this case, his question is as old as human culture:
Who (or what) do you worship?
This Sunday, and throughout the fall, we are going to wrestle with this fundamentally human question.
We are going to start by identifying our guiding principles — the real ones, not just the ones to which we give lip service! We are going to talk about the fears, the goals, the loyalties, the insecurities and the loves that direct the path of our lives. We are going to name these “New York Gods,” these forces to which we (and those around us) are downright devoted.
Of course, the rub here is that these “gods” — these recipients of our conscious and unconscious devotion — are not the God, the Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer of us all. They are bogus deities. They are what the prophets called idols.
So, every step of the way, we are going to strategize about how to keep fraudulent gods off our soul’s top shelf as we move deeper into the genuine embrace of the living God.
This Sunday is Homecoming.
The Chancel Choir will be back! Sunday School will be rockin’! Familiar faces will be in the pews! The Homecoming Fair will be fabulous! We are even going to have a famed NYC caricature artist on hand to sketch a picture of the idols in your life.
It will be fun. It will be spiritually provocative. It will be good for your soul.
I hope you will invite a friend or two to join us. Trust me, you’ll be glad you came to church!
Eager to see you in worship,