Sunday, June 4, 2006

Counterintuitive Worship

Tonight we ordained deacons. Can you think of anything less user friendly? Nobody in creative arts would ever invent anything like this. If I were trying to come up with an idea for a worship service, this would be the very last thing I would create. For some significant portion of the service, people were sitting on their hands watching the backside of other people leaning over to whisper and pray with yet more other people. Yet at the end, people were crying. These simple, biblical things—dunking people in water, eating a meal together, touching someone to consecrate him and pray blessing over his ministry—they are counterintuitive, but they move people. It doesn't surprise me that every now and again somebody comes along who thinks he knows better and says, “This just won't do. We've got to soup this up and make it more exciting.” So, they build a fire-engine baptistry with confetti cannons. They just don't understand that Christian worship is about mystery. I'm not talking about mystery as a mood or setting—the solemnity that some people seem to mean when they say “reverence”. When I say that worship is about mystery, I mean that worship is all about the Holy Spirit, whom we have not figured out. We can't conjure Him up like Aladdin from the lamp. If the Holy Spirit chooses to show up during some ancient, biblical rite that looks nothing like entertainment, then even that kind of worship service becomes compelling. Tonight He showed up. I'm always grateful when He does.

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