I’ve heard Irish musician Hozier a number of times on the radio in recent weeks. You may have heard his current single, “Take Me to Church,” as its been getting a decent amount of airtime. While the song is about human sexuality, equality, and the Church, as he describes it in an interview a few months back, the following lyrics had me thinking about something much broader…
Take me to church
I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife
Whether the specific issue is human sexuality, addiction, immigration, war, or take your pick, I hear in these lyrics a cry for authenticity and grace. Too often the Church is seen as a house of cards built on lies, not because it lacks truth but because it fails to live those truths. We have made it more about being right than being redeemed. When we fail to be authentic about our brokenness and need for grace which leads to renewal, we create for ourselves a “shrine of lies” that we then invite the world to worship at, which they can clearly see right through.
Confession is an important thing because it demonstrates authenticity and vulnerability which leads to healing. The Church has too often called individuals to confession only to then “sacrifice” them on the altar of their sin. The imagery of sharpening our knives as individuals make themselves vulnerable is powerful and one I fear that too many see when they look at the Church.
May we confess our brokenness as the Church, pursue Christ’s holiness, and accept his grace so that we might receive it, give it, and build upon it.