I have been fortunate that I have been to many different kinds of worship services. I grew up Catholic and I have been there and done that many times. I have spent a lot of time in non-denominational churches, baptist churches, Presbyterian churches and Calvary churches. I have even been to a few Episcopalian and Lutheran services and 1 Mormon service. I can honestly say that in every church service, I have been able to witness people loving and worshipping our God. It brings me to tears sometimes. All these different ways to love our God and it just amazes me. Now don't get me wrong. I most definitely prefer certain kinds of services to others....and even if I don't care for the style of worship much....I still see the beauty....I still see see the love. It's so cool. I just love it.......that's why what I am about to write took me a week so I could simmer down from my frustration and disappointment.
Last Sunday I didn't want to go to church. Paul was preaching in our sanctuary and I always like to hear him (I should, he's my hubby). But the fact of the matter is, I haven't been feeling well so I was going to go to only 1 service. Usually if Paul preaches in the sanctuary, I will go to the early service....then over to the Bridge service where I prefer. This is sad to say, but I am not a huge fan of our sanctuary service. There are things I like , and things I don't like, but the things I don't care for distract me from worship. BUT I still can worship and appreciate the parts of the service that are beautiful and revealing.
So I didn't want to go.....I had been thinking earlier on in the week how much I just needed a dose of the Bridge....but I didn't want to hurt Paul's feelings.
So I went, and when I walked in the sanctuary....I almost cried. Paul and the worship director decided to change things up for the week and have a TAIZE service in the sanctuary. If you don't know what Taize is....let me TRY to explain...or I will have John our worship dir. explain
"Taize worship is meditative and contemplative. It comes from an ecumenical monastic community. The musical passages are repeated many times. The intent is to focus concentration away from the cares of the outside world. Scripture, our common Word, is the source of our meditation in silence. There will be prolonged silences during times of prayer, a time of listening to the voice of God. The goal is to leave the extraneous noise of the world behind and renew our relationship with God. Listen, Sing, pray peacefully, and together we can discover the meaning of the word sanctuary."
This type of service is just so beautiful. We do it once a month on Friday nights and I love it. It takes some getting used to........but just like all other types of worship it's just magnificent. To be honest, I was surprised they were gonna do it on a church "Sunday" but I also thought it was cool they were gonna mix things up a bit. I mean....I don't know about you...but sometimes church can be the same routine every Sunday just a different song, and a different sermon. Sometimes it's nice to do something to push you and challenge you in a different way so you can grow. I got so much out of the service, I just cried and thanked God for pushing me to come. I walked out and talked with a few others about how great it was just to come and have some real peace.
So when Paul came home on Monday and told me about the complaints (no names, just the complaints) heard about the service I got ready to write a sermon of my own to preach the following Sunday about how people need to stop being selfish, take the pacifier out of their mouth and grow up. Yep, that's right....that's what I just said.
Here are a few of the complaints that people actually either said, called in or emailed.
"people up front shouldn't be wearing jeans"
" I didn't like it"
"When are you gonna have those kind of services again cuz we won't come those Sundays."
People actually emailed or called and said these things after only 1 service in which the boys explained how we were doing something different since the choir is on break.
I mean "SERIOUSLY?" Church is all about you right? It's about what YOU get. It's about whether you like the way the pastor preaches, or the way the choir sings or doesn't sing. It's about what the pastor wears or if we sing one song or two. It's about whether there is a kids sermon or a good Sunday school craft.
I 'm sorry but I am so SICK and TIRED of hearing stuff like this.
I'm sorry people but church isn't about you!
Church is about worshiping God. (it's also about community too, but we'll delve into that later) ..it's about coming together and showing Him how much we love Him and praise Him. If we learn something in the process, that's great....but it's about giving our hearts to our Lord for at least one hour a week in community and to listen to His word.
At least that is what I have to come learn about church.....and I have to say that I feel sorry for those that think church is about them....cuz they will never be happy.
But do you see why I was frustrated? I don't call the pastor on Monday and tell him that the people in choir fall asleep in service so maybe they should stop having the choir. I don't call him and tell him he "Blew chunks" on his sermon or that they should try doing things a little differently cuz this one time I didn't like it. I don't tell him that I was offended when he wore his robe on Pentecost Sunday or that I think we should pass communion every week instead of monthly. I don't tell him that the opening song was in a key too high or that the service went too long. I mean...how disheartening right? Do you think God is praised when we say those things. At some point we need to let go and just worship.
I'm not saying that we should just go along with things even if we don't like them...or if there was something inappropriate or misleading done in church. But maybe we should just sit back... and wait and see what comes the next week...and the week after. Then , maybe then, take your pastor out to lunch and take the time to learn the reasons behind what happened before opening up your mouth to complain. Then say what you will......it will be received with much more care. Besides, they are the ones that went to a lot of school to learn all different ways to lead people in congregational worship. Maybe what they try to do every Sunday is challenge you and foster a time where you can not only praise our God, but draw closer to Him as well..
p.s. I have been one of these kind of people before....maybe thats why I react the way I have you.
p.s.s. imagine if I hadn't waited a week before writing this.....
p.s.s.s this rant could get me into all sorts of trouble...so be gentle.