As I awoke from a deep slumber this morning, the alarm radio was pointlessly spurting out soundwaves into the atmosphere in a vain attempt to awaken me from my hibernation. Who knows how long it had been sounding its alarm announcing that a new day had spawned. I know the day was aging quickly by the time I came to my senses. Another alarm has been ringing in my ears the past few days. An alarm to awaken from another slumber, one not so restful and by no means as comforting. I would have never guessed what the past few weeks would hold for the depths of my soul, indeed, there is no way I could have known. The death of my father and the birth of our third child sent me deep into another sleep. The agony of longing deeply for an awakening and the disappointment of its allusiveness. Although I have not been stirred to the fullness of complete spiritual alertness, I feel my soul stirring once again.
Ringing out from that clock radio this morning was the voice of a passionate saint preaching his heart out. Please know that I am not criticizing, only observing for the sake of the Kingdom of God. The preacher said, “Does anyone remember the way we used to have church?” While I understand his intent to awaken his sleepy faith community to a life of passion, I also have several reservations about a statement such as this.
Inherent in this statement is a belief that the good ‘ole days are gone. One of the most beautiful aspects of living in a faith community is that there are no “good ‘ole days” to hang onto. All we have to hang onto is the beautiful future that we have together as a community. Isn’t that so promising!
Second, worship isn’t better when it is done in a particular “way”. I am so thankful that God has blessed me with the opportunity to be part of several tribes (denominations) and spiritual cultures in my lifetime. I have fully come to realize that worship is not necessarily better if it is louder, softer, more emotional, more intellectual, contemporary, traditional, with hands raised or knees bent. Worship is most pure when it overflows from one’s heart. I encourage each of you to worship God from your heart in the most passionate, sincere “way” you can find.
Third, This statement begins with the premise that church is something we “have” and not church is something we are. Church was never intended to be something we have. I am so thankful to be sharing life with a whole community of people who get this. My commuty has challenged me in this area just as much as I have challenged them. Let’s go into 2008 with a fresh passion to pursue church, not as a thing we have, but as a life we live. It will be difficult to know exactly what that means and how it will look for each of us, but I am determined to do the hard work of discovery and I hope you will walk with me.
Just a thought...