This reflection from UCC’s StillSpeaking speaks into how many feel about their church experience. I know there are many Sundays when I would prefer to immerse myself in nature than “attend” a church service. It’s certainly something worth thinking about, especially if you are involved in church or worship leadership in any way.
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“The Lord is king, he is robed in majesty.” (from Psalm 93)
“I don’t need church to experience God; I experience God in the mountains and in the ocean.”
Is seeing the Crown Jewels the same as seeing the Queen of England?
The Psalmist says that the natural world is the robe of majesty God wears, a sort of regal outfit she puts on to show how great she is. There’s nothing wrong with being awed by the outfit, but that’s not the same as worshiping the one who wears it.
On the other hand.
Would people still so eagerly seek God in natural places of majesty while ignoring corporate worship if so many church services weren’t so utterly devoid of majesty? Because, you know, we don’t get to complain about the mountains and the oceans if they’re more eloquent on the subject of God’s greatness than we are.
Organists and musicians, do you play every piece, even the giant old German hymns, like a funeral?
Scripture readers and liturgists, are you unrehearsed and unprepared (and therefore unsupported by the clergy that recruited you), and so do you read the most important words in the world in a flat, halting, deathly boring tone?
Clergy, do you schlump around up in the chancel like an affable host inviting people to play a parlor game? Do you sound apologetic and embarrassed when forced to talk about God’s awesomeness?
Everybody, have you felt even the slightest twinge of awe in your church lately?
If not, the mountains win again.
God, you are great. Fill your churches with your Spirit so that all who enter might experience your majesty. And if even then we’re still blowing it, then meet me in the mountains, OK? Amen.
(Reflection by Quinn G. Caldwell, from StillSpeaking)