We live in a world, more specifically a country, where entertainment is big business. The US entertainment industry netted approx $443 billion in 2010 according to Bloomberg, through advertising, Pay-TV, movies, recorded music etc. We live in Austin Texas, the ‘Live Music Capital’ of the world, where our appetite for good music is perhaps a little more acute than elsewhere in the USA. If we are paying for entertainment, we expect quality and to get our money’s worth.
This has, I believe, engendered a situation that impacts our whole worship experience on Sunday morning. We can come with an expectation to be entertained. That the pastor should hold our attention, engage, entertain. That the worship music should be of the highest quality, contemporary, relevant, engaging, and also, need I say it, entertaining.
If it is not, in the extreme, we will go elsewhere to find something that suits us better. We church hop, to find an experience that is better, more relevant, something that suits ‘me’, and if we are honest we will even start to make judgments about where God is more alive, and where He is not.
Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth gives a very different picture, a picture of how we should come to church on a Sunday morning, and in fact, any time.
“What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up” 1 Cor 14:26
You see Paul is saying something quite different. He is saying when we come together, we should all come with something to offer. Something to contribute, in order that “the church may be built up…”. The fact that he is speaking about spiritual gifts is, in my opinion, irrelevant. The principle is, we come with hearts prepared to give, servant hearts. I want to suggest that a person who comes with a spirit that expects to be entertained or engaged, is going to be disappointed at some stage, because things will not always be to their liking.
So the next time you see yourself complaining or feeling under engaged or entertained on Sunday morning ask yourself this, “What did I bring this morning? What word of encouragement?, What compassion for the wounded soul?, What prayer for someone suffering?, What scripture to minister to a struggling relationship?...
“… that the church may be built up…”
"That the church may be built up"
by David Melles, elder on June 18th, 2011
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