Speaking of Boxes. . .

I'm sitting in my apartment surrounded by piles of boxes and wow. It makes me happy to be moving! We're finally doing it. Nothing major, of course, just to a new apartment, but it's completely worth it. Yesterday a friend got really excited for me and told me how much he loves moving. He went on and on about the joys of re-arranging furniture and his smile got bigger and bigger--well, I did get a little concerned about him but then I laughed. I agree with him. The actual task of packing and taping boxes and moving heavy objects (like our piano, which will be moved from the second floor down precarious cement steps. . .) is somewhat daunting, but the after effect will be lovely. It's necessary to get a new start with new walls and new organization. It's also extremely cleansing.

Speaking of moving, here's a question: how often does the organization of church need to be re-evaluated? I've been struggling with the design of church services for awhile now. When Scripture doesn't explicitly lay out commands about something or other, like what a worship gathering should look like, I think it's natural to question our methods. I think it's necessary to get in Scripture and re-evaluate. So, how often do we need to "move" our churches, so to speak, and start over with a fresh beginning?

For example, I know many church-goers who enter church doors and never speak a word to anyone. I also know many church-goers who have left because of it. We acknowlege in our doctrine that community is important, but do our services, programs, and overall Christian love and friendliness convey our beliefs? In my devotional this morning I read "Forgive all my sins and graciously receive me, so that I may offer you the sacrifice of praise" (Hosea 14:1-2). I thought and prayed very seriously about that verse, and Romans 12:12-2 came to mind about offering our bodies as living sacrifices. Our bodies praise God. Our lives praise God. But when we come together on a Sunday morning, that should be a culmination of our sacrificing. And a sacrifice should be painful in a good way. We're giving something up for God to honor him. What do we give up on Sunday but an hour of our time? Is the worship gathering organized in such a way that we are required to give our all? And there's then the ever pressing belief about Christ living in all of us Christians, not just the Pastor or leaders. Do we enable ourselves to believe in the authority Christ promises us, or do we leave all the "good works" up the our ordained professionals?

Honestly, I don't have answers, just questions. But I read a book awhile ago I'll recommend for your reading list: The Millenium Matrix by M. Rex Miller. It's a good one.


alaina said...

The idea of outsourcing has struck me a great deal lately. Outsourcing the work of the gospel to the "professional" is a gaping wound in the church body. We hand over the keys to the pastor for (insert your favorite church function), he hands it over to tradition, tradition hands it over to what's always been done. Suddenly we find that our faith is constructed out of cheap plastic niknaks made in China.
Digging further, moving might not do the trick. We can take the niknaks with us, we shift them around, but they are still niknaks. But sacrifices were burned and out of the ashes new life grew.
just thoughts on a lunch break.

Jim Britton said...

I wonder if there's a way to "move" every week. Sounds crazy, or at least really tiring, but why not? I mean, why not question our methods from week to week? It's like new paint and rearranged furniture every Sunday. Ooh, or better yet, why not let the community dictate what the worship gathering will be, do, say, sing, read, whatever? C'mon, if there's a really great jazz musician who is a part of your gathering/community, then you better be having jazz worship. Same thing with a poet, writer, artist, interior designer, juggler, chemist, or baker. But before you can have jazz worship complete with circus performers and really great bread, you have to know who those people are and what they do, and what they were created to do - that's where "community" comes into play, in my opinion. Why wouldn't you bring your best to your corporate worship gathering and sacrifice it at the altar? Hmm, I think in this way, it's a fresh beginning each week.
And maybe we need to re-evalute this idea that the gathering happens once a week. Why not once a month? Or once a year? Perhaps bigger and better sacrifices would occur. Perhaps the culmination of a Romans 12 sacrifice would be greater and more significant. Perhaps we become the church rather than go to church. Perhaps I'm done commenting now.

Amy said...

amen. that's about all i have to say about that.