- Why do we come to church?
- Do we need music?
- If so, are there certain instruments that are more church-acceptable?
- What about silence?
- Are our lives enriched by sermons?
- What is the purpose of an offering?
- How about the choir?
- Is liturgy good–or just repetitious?
The questions had been posed all morning long, and Reverend Meningsbee sat back listening, only contributing if asked or if there was the need to clarify a point.
The attendance was good. Amazingly, most of the visitors had returned, and even a few of those who had left the flock were back in the corral.
But the most outstanding moment of this week’s service happened when Maxwell, one of the few teenagers remaining in the church, came forward to sit in the chair for prayer because he had a toothache.
It was such an amazing sight to behold–a young man who normally perched in the back pew, fondling his phone, texting friends–made his way to the front in the belief that the supplications of the congregation might bring him relief.
And it did. At least, he said he felt better.
Meningsbee was astounded at how the people were taking the moment of fellowship and turning it into common benefit.
Near the end of the discussion, one of the older members of the church stood to her feet and said, “I think we all agree that whatever we do in the church, it should be to worship God, because that’s why we’re here.”
There was a general rumble and assent of “amens” from all present.
Meningsbee paused. He wondered if it was time for him to offer insight, or to just leave the moment alone for later instruction.
No time like the present.
He stood to his feet and walked to the front of the sanctuary. Turning slowly, he spoke.
“I know what our dear sister just said seems right. We have been taught–shoot, it’s literally been infused in us–that we’re here to praise God, express our reverence, and leave with a sense of awe about how big and wonderful He truly is. But I came to town so we could have a Jesus church, and Jesus made it clear that God was not interested in worship that was born merely of affirming His goodness. Jesus put it this way: Man was not created for the Sabbath. The Sabbath was created for man. And by Sabbath, he was certainly referring in part to our weekly gathering in church. So the real question we’re asking today is, and always will be, what is best for us humans to grow as we gather to acknowledge a common faith? Remember what I said last week–what is going to give us full life and full joy? Whatever that is–well, that will be worship.”
Meningsbee thought his message was simple, but for some reason it touched the hearts of all those gathered. Many cried aloud and others sprouted silent tears.
Meningsbee, looking at the scene before him, wept.
It felt so good to be honest about church. It was delightful to be around those who weren’t afraid to feel.
All at once, Maxwell, who had come with a toothache, started sweetly singing, “Jesus Loves Me.”
Everyone joined in.
Yes–everyone joined in.