Travelling for meetings this past weekend I bit into several snacks and meals in airports and near airport hotels and in their restaurants. They were universally underwhelming and unhealthy. Floppy, wobbly, mushy, cold, thick, these are the words to describe what I ate. Even when I ordered a salad it was so drenched in a fatty dressing and the chicken in it was chicken nugget-type things. It all got me thinking that when we travel in North America (at least generally) the squalid salty greasy sugary meals that are available are designed not out of love but out of profiteering, not from great ingredients but from cheap ones, not by someone who wants to love and consume what they make but by someone seeking to please a non-existent John and Jane Smith?
We eat it because we need to eat something.
This got me thinking about church and how the movement often seeks to manage itself. In churches do we sometimes fall in to the trap of trying to create experiences and settings, choose songs and liturgical elements based on what we think we should deliver rather than what we wish to deliver, or to consume ourselves? Do our services represent our best, most authentic desire to worship our one God? Are they made lovingly using carefully selected ingredients of the highest quality? Are our best churches the ones in which the leadership of the church are most invested personally? Where programs are chosen and run by laity? Where welcomes are true and meant? Where the preacher preaches first to him (or her) self, and to the people he (she) expects to be present second?
Are our worship services events we would attend if we weren’t being paid to? I don’t ask this to convict anyone of commitment, many church employees truly would go to church most Sundays either way, but would they go to the same church?
This post offers nothing new, just, perhaps, a helpful analogy to permit us to re-visit and intentionally evaluate where we are and how we prepare our services and programs. As Easter comes who are we thinking about as we prepare our services?