I try my darnedest to not be judgmental of other faith communities. We all have our flaws, and I’m pretty sure that anyone looking at the PCUSA would be able to find a few as well. However, lately I’ve found myself growing more and more peeved at a billboard an area church has displayed.
“Worship doesn’t have to be BORING”! it declares in bold letters.
Worship doesn’t have to be boring… but should it, by definition, be entertaining?
It begs the question of who (or WHO) is being worshiped, doesn’t it?
I know the argument. Worship needs to be designed in such a way to provide communion with God – and so worship that is meaningful, and perhaps even a bit entertaining, is the stuff that provides the rich fertilizer that enables the relationship to grow. Therefore, exciting worship kindles a deeper desire for the worshiper to be fully present before the Living God.
I get that. I do. And there have been times when the trappings of worship have moved my own soul more towards God. There have also been times when I’ve gone home feeling that the band gave a great performance, and that the preacher presented a few good jokes that I can use on friends during the week. (I also got a bit teary during the Children’s sermon… always a good thing, right?)
There’s nothing wrong with the choir singing well, or the preacher finding the right illustrations – there’s nothing wrong about feeling deep emotions during baptism, communion or the passing of the peace. What becomes a problem is when we attend worship for THOSE things, instead of for WHO those things point to.
In the Reformed tradition, worship is understood to be where God hears our praise and petitions, but also where God speaks through the reading and singing and proclamation of the Word. Consider this – for an hour on a Sunday morning, you have the opportunity to come before the Author of the Universe and to offer your praise… as well as to hear the Word for you anew. Amazing. How could that EVER be boring?
C.S. Lewis in Letters to Malcolm writes: “The perfect church service would be one we were almost unaware of; our attention would have been on God”.