Beyonce and Our Modern Worship
So truth upfront, I am not a big Beyoncé fan.
I do, however, find her interesting.
She, in her success, her marriage, and her influence, is a one-woman exhibit of modern cultural values so I keep my eye on her almost as a sociological research project. Every year, for better or worse, her performances send a strong message to her viewers. A few years ago her sang “Drunk in Love” a strange, dark ritualistic exaltation of sexual freedom. And we all remember last year when she used her stage at the Super Bowl to bring awareness to the black political climate.
This year, however, I think that Queen Bey’s performance brought with it a message that desperately needs to be heard and heeded. Yes, motherhood is beautiful. I am proud to be a woman and stuff but she had a much deeper message for us whether she knew it or not.
Beyoncé celebrated all that is feminine, especially her motherhood, dressed as a religious icon, something to be worshiped.
Because no matter how you try to spin it, humans were made to worship. It is in our being; we cannot help but magnify something outside of us because we know our own lackings. We exalt what we think will help us to make up for what we are missing.
As our society moves further and further away from the worship of God, two things happen. First, we begin to long for worship. Second, we replace the ultimate and eternal with the inadequate and finite. My favorite bible verse says that the idols of the earth are made by human hands. They have eyes but cannot see, ears but cannot hear… and all who make them will be like them and so will all who worship them.
And so will all who worship them!
We can never be above what we worship. Our idols define us. If we worship money, we can never be as good as the amount of money we make. If we worship success, we can never be better than our achievements. As the worship of God become less popular, the worship of things must take His place.
Beyonce’s costume screamed so loudly to me that we are desperate for true worship. In Hollywood, the very church of secularism, signs of piety and holiness still somehow make their way into the mess. She also very stylishly revealed the number one cultural icon, the self.
We live in an era in which we have turned a blind eye to our brokenness. We have become to believe that it is we that will make up for what we lack and so the self has become the idol of the age. Every popular choice, no matter how schizophrenic it may seem, is made to promote self-actualization at the altar of the self.
The problem with this is that if we are the ones who lack, we cannot fix ourselves. And this interest of our very own idols, we lose our ability to suffer, to sacrifice. The other gets in the way of the self.
God is enthroned in the Heavens, He does whatever pleases Him. He is above me, He is uncreated, so when I bow to Him, he places me where I belong. By His grace, I CAN rise to a higher joy because I am worshipping what is higher than I. His son’s death was a selfless love to a people who did not return the favor. He tells me that my life is not my own, that I find myself when I give myself away. This kind of worship leads to humility, joy, gratitude and sacrifice. It is a far cry for the “you do you” message of culture.
No matter her motive, I do not think it is a coincidence that Beyoncé just so happened to be dressed as a god when she is only a human (a very talented human). Listen to the message of her performance but this time, ask yourself what or who you worship. Is your idol worth it? Is it setting you free to become your best self? If it isn’t, then it’s time to try a new one. God is the only being worth our worship, talk to him about it.