A Little Aside

Yesterday I ran paulfg’s comment in this space in which he offered the idea that we could possibly make lists of the things we don’t like as a starting point to figure out what worship should look like in our colony. In some comments, people have offered dislikes, while in a couple of others people have been a bit hesitant to buy into the idea, and I offered in a reply to one of them that if we make a list of our deal-breakers, then we are not very likely to make a deal.

I really enjoy comments that get us thinking, don’t you? After all, that is the point of the exercise so, a big thanks to Paul!

All of this reminds me of a couple that my wife and I know very well. They are a delight for the most part and we love them to death, but there is one little thing…

You see, they are very committed Christians, why they can hold forth on all kinds of topics and tell anybody what a Christian (a “real” one, that is) would or would not do in any situation. Actually, that can go on and on…

Yet they never attend church, outside of a wedding or funeral. The reason for their non-involvement is that they cannot find a congregation that is acceptable to them− there’s always something they do or don’t do, or that someone said one time or… something, that keeps our couple away.

They have very exacting standards.

There’s a small church a short distance from their home and once I asked if they’d ever attended there. “Oh no, they are really weird.”

“How do you know that if you’ve never attended?”

“Oh, you can just tell.”

Once we drove past a church building not too far from their home and one of them mentioned that they had friends who attend there and I asked if they’d ever visited that church. “Oh no, we don’t like their kind of music.”

You see where this leads, right? Our friends don’t have exacting standards at all, they just have excuses to cover the main fact: They just don’t want to go, which is their choice to make.

So often discussions of worship are filled with personal preferences, likes and dislikes− how can we do that? To worship God in community with others is supposed to be all about love: Love for God, love for one another. Love that is godly love counts others as more important than ourselves, so how can we seek to impose our personal preferences on other people and call it love, not to mention worship? The short answer, obviously, is that we can’t.

Consider…

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:1-2

Well, that’s my turn, and looking around the table, oh, you’re up!

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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21 Responses to A Little Aside

  1. Tom says:

    As much as I love my church, there are some things that I don’t care for, but that is not a deal breaker for me. I can overlook a lot of small things that I don’t like if, as a whole, the Bible is preached and God is moving in the services in my life. God is still using my church to help me grow and to build others up, despite faults.
    Every church is made up of humans who make mistakes. There is no perfect church. If you find one, you expectations are too low. My expectations are on Jesus and I strive for that aim where I am put by God.
    Just a few of my thoughts.

  2. Pete says:

    The idea of service again comes to mind. Our worship should be in service to one another. That is how we present our bodies – everything we do, say, feel, touch and hear – as an offering to God and to each other. We fulfill each others needs. I can’t think of a need fulfilling mercy someone could do for me that I would dislike. So this takes out all the dislikes. Isn’t this how the early church functioned. Everyone’s needs were met by those within the church. isn’t that what community is all about? And is;t that a true extension of our worship to God?

    So we come together and break bread, we share our needs, we fulfill needs as we are able and we break the bread of the Word amongst ourselves. Wouldn’t that make a wonderful time?

    • Don Merritt says:

      One would hope so. Of course, that bring us to a bigger question, doesn’t it? If worship is service, or “a” service, what about the rest of the week? Is worship just once a week?

      • If we follow Acts, the early church “worshiped” once a week on Sunday, but met to “serve” those in and out of the community daily.

      • Pete says:

        No way. It is an everyday occurrence. I was always intrigued by the fact that manna came every day of the week except the Sabbath day. Now I know that one of the main reasons was because God wanted them to rest on the Sabbath day. But could it not also be that he wanted them to be out developing relationship when Gathering the manor on the other six days of the week? Maybe this was a time when they would fellowship with one another and learn of one another’s needs so they could prayerfully respond. In other words it might have been a time of service when they were gathering the Manna.

        Today we do it just the opposite. We fellowship with other believers on the Sabbath day and bring in the word of God. But many times on the other days we neglect at Fellowship and neglect the word of God. This has always been curious mystery to me

  3. Mel Wild says:

    “So often discussions of worship are filled with personal preferences, likes and dislikes− how can we do that? To worship God in community with others is supposed to be all about love: Love for God, love for one another.”

    That pretty much says it all right there. We, in the West, like to think of “church” as an individualized consumer item rather than the corporate body of Christ we are to belong to and participate in…warts and all!

  4. Barbara Lane says:

    On earth we seem to treat worship more as consumers. We evaluate which church has music we like, preaching we like, people who are friendly enough for us. I’m afraid if we approached it from listing our dislikes, we might soon divide into different groups just like on earth. I agree everything should be done decently and in order, but who determines what is in order.

  5. Don ~ I really don’t have anything new to say at this point. Don

  6. Gary Fultz says:

    When we recently moved quite a ways (for a job), We decided God would know where we would be most useful in which body of believers (learning curve on our part to pray, listen, hear and follow…). He brought us to where we would not have gone naturally. Our relationship is with God at home, work and play 24/7 and we just share that in concert with other believers. God seems to delight in developing “wobble room” with all those crazy christians out there. I guess God is the important one. .

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