Well for those of you that do not talk to me everyday, I have been down and out with Strep Throat. I am now on day 3 of my antibiotic and as today progresses, I am feeling a burst of energy coming down. But because of my sickness, we were not able to attend corporate worship today and were forced to join many Americans and watch TV church instead. So as I lay in my recliner cuddled up under my warm blankets and my kiddos playing at my feet, I worshiped with two local churches and one from another state. Even being without a church home right now, I still miss the time I spend in corporate worship on Sunday. Other than being fed from the word in both Sunday School and Church, I love the singing together and getting even the tiniest glimpse of what it will be like to praise and worship our Father forever in Glory!
Today, I was more of a spectator on the worship of others, and being such I was quickly stricken by the apathy and ambivalence of many church goers. I have heard it said by multiple persons, “Sunday morning is the largest day of idol worship,” and today I glanced at what that truly means.
Hum drum… Repetition. Going to church out of obligation. Stand up sit down, sing and read, Pass a plate, hear a sermon, invitation and then go home. I have often heard it said from my fellow evangelical brothers and sisters that the “other” religions are too mechanical and ritualistic. After the spectacle I witnessed today… So are we!
Have you grown up in church? Do you attend regularly Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday services? Why? Why do you go? Is it because you have always gone.. Is it because you are a “Good Baptist” and that is what we do? Is it as commonplace as getting ready for work each day?
As I watched one particular service this morning, I was awestruck on the behavior of the congregation. A minister read from James.. Here is the passage..
James 5:13-16 Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
After the rendering of this reading, the minister asked the leaders of the church to come to the front and then opened the altar for a time of prayer either alone or with one of the leaders. They asked everyone to pray silently as they searched their hearts and prayed for one another. As the camera panned this congregation I was astonished…
People checking their watches. Chatting amongst themselves. Flipping through magazines (likely some Open Windows or something). Staring at the front to see who was up there. Do you know what I did not see? In a congregation of roughly 350 people, I saw maybe 10 people earnestly in their pews in prayer.
Have we become so accustomed to our traditions and corporate worship that we can not even spend 15 minutes with our eyes closed and heads bowed to our Savior? Have we become so cold to the things of God that we are bored with a time of prayer? I am the judge of no man, but I would venture to say that if one can not spend a few moments in prayer during corporate worship, how can you ever face God alone in your prayer closet.. Or do you? I already know that answer.
I found myself getting angry. Angry at the hypocrisy but also angry at the spoiled brats I watching take for granted their worship time of my Savior! Here I am sick, longing for my time at church, and instead I am forced to watch this reality show that is Church in America today.
When will a generation rise up and declare… ENOUGH!!!! Enough of your “churchiness”! Enough of your “Traditions!” Enough of your hypocrisy! Enough of your cavalier ungrateful worship! Christianity is not about your rules and regulations! It is not about your order of worship or your times or places of meeting! Fall in LOVE with Christ! RETURN to your FIRST LOVE! You sing Amazing Grace with face as somber as someone who received a death sentence! Is his grace still AMAZING too you?
Isn’t what Christ has done for you enough! Can you not take up your cross and sacrifice your own feelings and thoughts for one day of the week? I am utterly disgusted with what I beheld today. Churches being run like businesses and Members acting like they are trying out for some reality show.
I am fed up with excuses and I am fed up with divisions! People…. It is not about you! It is about Christ! Him and him crucified! Take off your “Baptist” blinders and see what has been there all along! Christ DEMANDS more from you than some traditional ritualistic worship! You condemn Catholic Rituals while still partaking of your own under your Baptist Steeple!
You can spend hours watching a presidential debate.. You can have no problem watching the season opener of Grey’s Anatomy or Dancing with the Stars but you shun the idea of the service going past lunch! LIFE IS NOT ABOUT YOU!!!!! GET OVER IT!!!!
The church in America is broken! It is not broken over Arminianist/Calvinist debates. It is not broken over Mega Church/Small Church. It is broken because its members act just like the WORLD!
If you are bored during Corporate Worship.. Please stay home!
Revelations 2:4-5 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.