Naked Before God: On Mars

I have enjoyed our journey together so far, beginning with our hypothetical “first church” on Mars, and then looking at our individual relationships with God through the lens of a metaphor, that of being naked before Him. We have now reached the point where the hypothetical comes together with the metaphorical: Naked Before God on Mars.

You’ll recall that when we began, the general consensus in the group was that the Martian worship assembly should be pretty simple, many expressed the idea that this would be an opportunity to drop some of the baggage of tradition and practices that have resulted in disagreements on Earth. Yet as we went a little further into the discussion we began to see that even in our group of 12 colonists, there were differing expectations about what is actually essential for corporate worship. We finally ended up with the idea that we all make lists of the things we don’t like about worship and then sit down and come up with something that everyone liked, or at least without any of the dis-likes present. In the process of the discussion, I tossed out what we know about the original Sunday worship in the early church, but alas! Some of our favorite traditions weren’t on the list per se, like music for example, and the discussion became even more interesting.

So, we went on a side-trip to examine personal worship and relationship with God. We saw that the metaphor showed us a relationship in which we do not allow anything to come between us and God, in which we set everything else aside and come into His presence in complete humility, in which we hold nothing back from God. Finally, we have discussed taking that personal relationship into the community of the church, and that brings us all the way back to the beginning:

Since we have the opportunity to begin anew in our community, since we will have none of the pressures of the past to deal with, and since we have given everything to God personally, and are prepared to relate with Him in open humility, what should our worship as the first congregation on Mars look like?

Several have shared their thoughts, and now it’s your turn…

I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

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About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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18 Responses to Naked Before God: On Mars

  1. I think it should be a lot like the way we worship alone.

  2. I didn’t say to worship alone. I said we can worship together in the same manner. We spend most of our private worship time in prayer and scripture reading. Some sing in private worship time, but it isn’t the great performance kind. We have heard many years people say they don’t have to “go to church” because they can worship God as well or better meditating on him in the woods. So, if they prefer a quiet worship, maybe it’s something to think about as a congregation.

  3. Denine says:

    Worship is not so much something we do, as it is more of a state of being. It is not us doing something for Him, but it is a automatic response because of who He is. To stand in the presence of the one that is all consuming is an honor and a blessing. And that’s what you feel incredibly greatful to be in His presence – in complete awe of Him – worship.

    • Don Merritt says:

      Yes indeed, it’s service as we’ve seen, as a response to who He is and what He has done for us (short version). It’s offering ourselves as living sacrifices to Him… and what do you see that looking like in our Sunday assembly as a congregation- or is that not really so important?

      Great observations, btw, thank you.

  4. Since the Liturgical Year is a man-made construct, and the Martian year is quite a bit longer, what do we do about the feasts of the church? Do we keep earthly schedule? Do we create a unique Martian schedule? Do we wipe the current mess and start anew, with the idea of eliminating the rituals and burdens we have here? To our knowledge the only things the original church held onto was the Sunday gathering and the Paschal remembrance. Even Christmas was not added until much later.

    • Don Merritt says:

      Yes sir, that’s the question. Funny you should mention church feasts. I’ve been in church leadership over 30 years, and I have no idea what those feasts are, what you do or why they’re done at all. You might well be able to guess my answer to that part 😊

      • A priest from behind the Iron Curtain, whom I spoke to once, said they used to feasts to determine if parishioners were still around, still members, and still Christians. Most would not dare to attend Sunday services for fear of arrest. Oddly enough, the Soviet Union did not track feast days (which were not always on Sundays) so it was safer to gather. Perhaps the same was true under Roman rule.

  5. How about this? After the meet & greet, we just start thanking God for getting us all the way to Mars and ask for guidance on how He would want us to live in communion with Him and the others.

  6. paulfg says:

    Two thoughts merge.

    The first is your picture for these posts. The space-suit. Anyone could be within. That suit brings me naked to this fellowship. I am not “me” with the image to maintain. The suit is my “image” – the same image each of us have. We are – when suited and booted – as good as naked. Our personal appearance does not matter. Ergo – we are naked before each other.

    The second is these posts and blogs. How they bring an essence of each, yet leave behind the unecessary. Leave behind the day-to-day. The “ordinary”. The bring the extraordinary. The common connection between all. The connection of soul and love. A connection where each is heard and each is known. A place of healing and safety.

    So why not begin with that stripped-back minimalist worship: (symbolic) “suited” nakedness before each other and God, and (actual) “soul” nakedness before each other and God. Worship that could take place without the need for physical proximity (and all the trappings of personal preference … “baggage”? …) that proximity brings.

    And then once that connection is firm and has breached the “ordinary day-to-day stuff” (baggage) … I suspect coming together in physical proximity would no longer give rise to all the obstacles to “worship” that have been discussed here.

    • Don Merritt says:

      Paul you have a unique and precious ability to state amazing truth in a way that one might not expect. I read the things you write sometimes and have no idea where you’re going, no clue what you’re thinking, and then almost out of nowhere you drop a pearl of wisdom into the narrative, as you have done here.

      To be literally naked before others, and to walk the surface of Mars in a space suit are parallel, for in both cases we expose our vulnerabilities for everyone to see. We set aside our pretensions and our image projections and must be honest and open- there is no other alternative. That is the very essence of what community of faith is supposed to be; it is the goal that most of us say we seek, for it is the goal of love.

      Thank you so much for a brilliant observation!

  7. As long as Jesus is the center and the focus…all will be good!

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