Christian Stories by a Minister's Daughter
Has Christian Worship Evolved Into Entertainment?
Recently over the Christmas holidays, I had the flu and was unable to attend Sunday morning services, so I watched a local online 'live service' from a church that I've never attended. It was a Southern Baptist church service.
There was a group which performed in front of the church, all dressed very casual. They had their water-bottles up there in the event they experienced dry mouth, I suppose. As they played, they swayed. The production was quite flamboyant and pious as they broke into 'The Little Drummer Boy' song and a drummer stepped forth beating on a drum like there was no tomorrow.
At the end of the song, I expected to see fireworks explode in the background. The congregation actually stood, cheered and clapped. Although the performance was quite beautiful....it was inappropriate for the House of God, better suited for a special entertainment service. Why? Because people were cheering and making merry for the performers when the focus should have been on God.
'The Little Drummer Boy' is a fantastical story reminiscent of the true story of 'The Widow's Mite'. When I hear this song the first thing I feel is sorrow for the poor boy. The song is more about the boy than God. It is a song that poor people like me can relate to. Nonetheless....
The group continued to sing & controlled the singing part of the service - right up there, on the platform nearest the altar of God, swaying to the beat, belting out their beautimous voices to the captivated crowd who appeared to be totally wrapped-up in the actions of the performers. They lifted their arms, they lifted their eyes, they shook their head as they energetically performed. Another perk for the entertainers? Their CD's were for sale in the lobby of the church. This reminds me of the moneychangers in the temple...
Over the years, I have asked people what they enjoy most about the service before the pastor takes the podium - and the answer is always the same: "I love singing to the Lord the most." However, on this Advent Sunday, the people in the congregation didn't get to do that; they were there chiefly to be entertained by the entertainers. They sat listening, praising the singers, the performers, the entertainers.
Fact is...God doesn't care if we can carry a tune or not. It's the fact that we sing to him, that we glorify His name, His great works, His Kingdom. He doesn't want us serving Him vicariously - through the works of others. He needs to see us in action - not just warming a bench. And at church there are only a few ways that we can show Him adoration - through personal prayers, through assisting others who may need help during the service, and through lifting our voices in song.
Having performers entertain the congregation reminds me much of the Pharisees in the Bible - standing on the street corners, making a ruckus - for attention, for self-praise, not for honoring God. Although these performers may have intended that, it seems they would have given glory to God when the congregation rose, cheered & clapped - not accepting the personal praise & nodding.
Back in the 1960's and 1970's, I was in attendance when famous groups sang in front of the church. They wore expensive suits & their manicured male-hands contained a plethora of shiny rings. As a young girl, I watched them after the service & some were quite rude & pious to the members who praised their performance. At times people are so full of themselves....they can't see the forest for the trees...much less God who gave them their fine melodious voices to begin with. Pride goes before a fall....
Inspirational Writings by Sharen
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