you may have heard me say it in passing. i think i have written it a few times, but it’s always been packaged in humor. or sarcasm.
today i’m going to man up.
i call our sunday morning worship service the big show.
at first glance, it looks/sounds totally offensive. i’m pretty sure if i wasn’t me, i would be more than annoyed at the reference. on the surface, it’s disrespectful, irreverent, and completely flippant.
but for me, it means something different. sure, some of it flows from my childish, misbehaving, formerly-repressed-latent-adolescent-rebellious side. (even though i’m honest, i’m anything but angelic…). surprised?
calling sunday mornings the big show is a reminder to me:
…to be constantly aware that it really is a performance. just not in the way we naturally perceive it. real corporate worship is a performance by the whole church family…to an audience of one. together we are all on the stage…putting on a display of our love and adoration of the one true god. it is a show of the greatest magnitude.
…that i am not the one giving the performance. at least not alone. although i stand on the stage (really, it’s the floor), in front of a pulpit (actually, a broken music stand), with tons of adoring parishioners (uh…maybe dozens would be more accurate), sitting in rapt attention (except for the ones going to the bathroom or texting their friends or taking a short nap or waiting for the basset hound to return)…it’s not about me.
…that when the slides don’t work right (what language was the second slide of the scripture reading?), or when the screen doesn’t retract properly before the baptism, or when crazy hand motions to songs make people look…and feel…ridiculous, or when i get completely lost in my notes, or when communion servers pass the juice before the bread, or when things get totally out of order, or…or…or…it’s still ok. if this study through the sermon on the mount is teaching me anything, it’s that god is not nearly as obsessed by the outward appearance as we are. he’s obsessed with the heart.
…that there are a bunch of other things that are way more important to us than what takes place during a few hours on sunday mornings. like friendship and eating and serving and helping others and praying for others and showing people who don’t come to our big show that we aren’t any better than they are and showing them that god loves them.
i’ve heard that church growth experts (that’s a club i’m apparently no longer welcome in because of the team i play for now) encourage a church to spend 80% of their budget and resources (staffing, technology, promotion and advertising, facilities, and electronic gadgetry) on the sunday morning big show, if they ever want to have a bigger show.
that’s a lot of pressure on the people who put on the big show…to put on the biggest, baddest, rock-star-worthy, show every week. no wonder the stars of those shows command such hefty salaries. no wonder the stars of those shows are under so much pressure. no wonder the stars of those shows are so susceptible to groupies who worship at their feet and wreak havoc in their marriages. no wonder the crash and burn stats of the rock stars are so crazy high.
yeah…i call it the big show.
i don’t ever want to forget.