We have had a rule at most of the churches I have worked, an unofficial rule of course. Many ignore it. Some stare at the rule breakers. I am told I should occasionally remind people of it. Often, I make fun of it. I even blatantly defy it at times. NO FOOD IN CHURCH. Now, I understand. Let’s keep it clean – we don’t want any spillage or stains. (For best effect, read with the accent of the Church Lady from SNL).
This week, I have been watching the impeachment proceedings. When I can’t fall asleep, I turn it on and quickly am nodding off to the droning. But I also have been quick to notice how there are some similarities to our worship services. And now you will too.
We want everyone to be there, sit still, and stay quiet. Really? Those pews, I mean the seats for the senators, look hard. The elected folks may not get perfect attendance pins like church goers of days gone by, but people talk about them if they slip out. I remember my mother pinching me to stop squirming and to sit still. And when she wasn’t around, I would crawl under the pews. Let’s go pew diving!
Now, me as a worship leader? I don’t care if you get up and lean against the wall, slip out for relieving yourself, or even whisper quietly if something needs to be asked. Can’t sit for long? Walk a bit in the back. I’ve told this specifically to those with medical issues. I don’t want disruption or confusion, but I would rather look out and see people alive than nodding off. So maybe no pew diving.
No electronic devices. For the longest time, these were taboo, distractions, and unappreciated. But in the past few years, with Bible apps, notes online, and keeping the kids quiet, these have become the norm. So, when I ask people to open their Bible, I don’t always expect the wonderful sound of page turning, but get the warm glow of God’s Word on their faces from the screens’ illumination.
I was at a Kari Jobe concert once, and she wanted to read Scripture; but her battery was dead. So she asked, “Can I borrow someone’s Bible, mine’s broken,”
But there are still people who think modern electronics should be left at a drop box in the foyer. Some churches have even used special paint with copper nano-tubing to block phone reception.
I’ve gotten and sent texts during worship (yeah, maybe that pushes the envelope). There was one service I was in where my wife was returning from an out of state journey. She texted during my sermon to let me know she was home safe. I jokingly told the congregation my wife was home so I would wrap this up. My chairman of the deacons said, out loud, “if that was all it took, I would’ve texted you 15 minutes ago.” You’ve gotta love it.
Be admonished, Remember Where You Are. Chief Justice Roberts has to admonish the legal teams to watch their language and remember the setting. In worship, there is the eternal pull between reverence and relevance. We want to be real, transparent, and connect to life … but we also want to is worship and we want to give God our best and the respect He (not the place, not the institution, and not me) that He is due.
And back to where we started, No Food in the Church Service. Senators can not eat. Nor can they drink anything but water and milk. Yep. Milk. It’s in the rules that milk is permitted. And interestingly, the Senate will provide water but you have to provide your own milk. Bring your white goodness and put your name on it and have it chilled in the Senate cloak room. It’s like a day at the office break room. “Who drank my milk? I’m gonna get that Cruz. Ted, didn’t you see ‘Schumer’ on the bottle?”
I think Borden should get in on this and provide free milk to all Senators, cross the party lines, and get the free marketing.
However, I might petition for chocolate milk. Chocolate makes everything better.
Speaking of chocolate, there is one exception to the no food rule … in the Senate, it’s the candy desk. For over 50 years, this tradition has been upheld of a desk filled with goodness. Currently it’s the senator form Pennsylvania (home of Hershey’s and other confectioneers) … stocked to the max for a quick sugar fix by the 100 senators listening to lawyers. Senator Toomey stocks it with Hershey’s products, Three Musketeers from Elizabethtown, Peeps from Bethlehem, and Gertrude Hawk candies from Dunmore. Do they share with the managers and Chief Justice Roberts?
At my church, it’s Mr. Paulette … always having candy for the kids. I too have been known to share some KitKats a time or two.
It’s kind of scary that my mind goes to similarities between church services and the impeachment proceedings. But I also know the big difference. In the Senate, they are trying to remove the man on top, fighting for their ways and their party line. And who knows, they may succeed. It is a possibility and the constitution allows it.
In church, we may also try to replace the man on top (I’m not talking the preacher here, I’m talking the Big Man). We want our ways and will fight Him hard. And you may think you’ve replaced Him with your preferences. But you fool yourself.
There is no taking Him off His throne. There is no removing Him from office. He reigns eternally.
And for that, I will worship, I will dance, I will praise and celebrate, and I will give Him glory. At times, I will stand motionless in an awe of His greatness. And at other times, I will fall on my face in the presence of His holiness.
He. Is. On. The. Throne. — Forever.