The countdown clock to the opening production. The lights, fog, perfectly tuned sound, huge monitors, nicely dressed performers and the perfectly scripted commentaries. Maybe after this, a plate or basket is passed as someone is desperately trying to convince everyone that a tenth is required to be given to the church. Then, another performance commences. The moment everyone has been waiting for. The front-and-center man steps onto the platform and entertains the guests with witty humor. Or, with a prosperity message. Maybe even a non-biblical or out of context message that leaves the people with warm fuzzies and a sense of peace. The usual prepared topic and execution from His Word. When it is over, possibly an altar call, and another song. Shake hands. Go home.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
I wonder if heaven will be as it is in the churches?
I have attended my share of churches throughout the area. Some are more contemporary than others. Most consist of the same overall structure. As I was growing up, my mother and father never went to church, and the few times that I did go was because someone had spoken to my mother about me tagging along with them. I remember the churches being very odd, even then. Do this, now this, now this, now this. It was almost scary. It was like going to a place that left me confused instead of encouraged. I remember attending a Catholic church one time with a neighbor, and talk about strange! Kneel. Sit. Sing. The whole audience was saying things and doing things that were apparently previously taught to them. There were so many statues and paintings. I had to kneel before even sitting down. I had to dip my fingers in water and do the motion of a cross across my head and chest. So many rules. So many reasons to stay away from, who I didn’t know at the time, the Lord.
If you are into that, that is completely your business. Maybe not Biblical, and of the desires of the flesh, but your business. I believe some have a true relationship with the Lord in all of these places, and many are doing a great job of bringing others to the Lord, but I am encouraging us as children of God to dig a little further into where these “traditions” originated, and why we do these things on a Sunday. It starts with digging into the truth of His Word, and knowing what the organic Church should look like. The Viola/Barna book is also a well-executed, very detailed, finely referenced book that teaches some hard to swallow truths about our buildings that we are boldly calling “churches.”
Do you really know what the Church is? Is “Ekklesia” a foreign word to you?
I think all of us should know about what we are doing on a Sunday, or Saturday, or Wednesday, or whenever we come together. We should allow His Holy Spirit to move us in the right direction, and recognize when those personal experiences are Spirit-driven or emotion-driven. May we seek His truths, and not what we have been conditioned to call “correct.” May His Holy Spirit guide you, and may the emotions be recognized.