|Crosswords: Truth or Consequences
|The thump of the base guitar can be heard before you open the doors to enter the building. Once inside it vibrates the chairs enough to slide them an inch or two to one side if unoccupied. And most are unoccupied, their inhabitants having decided to stand. Some with their hands raised over their heads. The lights are just right, creating an atmosphere of excitement mixed with expectancy. Moments later a man steps up to the microphone to deliver words with which to stir up the crowd even more.
Your favorite band in concert? Or have you just been a part of your normal Sunday morning worship service? These days it’s hard to tell.
No more are we satisfied with singing the same songs in the same key. Suits and ties have been traded in for jeans and t-shirts. Stained glass has been replaced with massive projection screens. Children no longer wince at the thought of being pinched by their mother for whispering too loud. She’s making more noise in the sanctuary than her mother allowed her to make on the playground. Welcome to worship in the 21st century.
Like it or not church is changing. And there is nothing wrong with that. If we are to reach the multitudes of the next few generations we will need to venture into their environments. Becoming one to reach one was a favorite philosophy of the Apostle Paul as well as Jesus.
Besides all that there’s nothing wrong with some fire and emotion in our worship experiences. If you’ve been given the gift of life you have something to celebrate. And that can be difficult if your sitting on your hands and your tie is too tight.
However, in our desire to make church more meaningful and passionate we cannot allow emotion to rule the day. Emotion may draw large crowds and convey a sense of spirituality, but truth is the instrument that has sustained the church all these years. Jesus never said that your feelings would set you free.
Emotion can move a crowd on Sunday morning but truth is ever present on Monday morning. We cannot rely on how we feel about God all the time because our feelings are apt to change as soon as we reach the parking lot. There are days when I don’t feel as if I’m saved yet the truth of God contradicts that feeling. Emotion cannot reach the dark recesses of our mind but truth can penetrate through a six inch thick steel plated heart.
Magicians and hypnotists can draw crowds and instill an atmosphere of excitement and fervency. But it’s only smoke and mirrors. The truth is hidden by way of distraction and misdirection.
We all want to feel as if we’ve “been to church.” We are seeking an experience in our worship that conveys how we feel about God. That’s great. Just don’t allow the truth to take a back seat. It would be like brushing your teeth but neglecting to floss. Everything can look shiny on the outside while the root is disintegrating.