Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Big Show or the Family?

I had dinner with a good friend of mine recently. It was one of those relaxing dinners where the conversation was not restricted to the safe and casual, but probed deeply and thoughtfully into areas that are often off-limits, like politics, money, relationships and religion. I asked if he and his wife were still going to the church they have attended for years. He sat back and winced. "No" he said "we don't go there anymore. We are put off by the big show." Now if anyone else used that term for worship, I would react negatively and remind them that worship is not a show. But my friend has unusual credentials to speak, being a former pastor and actively involved in several large churches. His comment reminded me of another comment voiced by a pastor in a gathering some years ago when he said "It's all about the weekend." For this pastor, all his time and energies, his staff investment led to and peaked at the weekend worship services; the big show.
I am writing this between worship services today. I do not denigrate the importance and value of Sunday worship. I invest great amounts of time and energy into worship preparation (especially the sermon). But it's not the "big show." It's the gathering of the family of God, with all sorts of weird aunts and uncles I haven't met yet, grumpy old grandparents and fussy babies. It's about hanging out with people I genuinely love and who genuinely love each other. It's about making space in a pew for a newcomer and asking them their name and introducing them to me later. It's about devotion to the Word and the words, the table and the font.
What's your worship like today? The big show or the family gathering? Did you go or have you checked out?


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