Thursday, January 14, 2016

I Attended a Ceremony This Past Weekend

My family and I attended a ceremony a few days ago.

We met with a hundred or so other people in a church building. We all sat in long rows. Most everybody there was quiet the majority of the time. The exception was the couple of hymns we were invited to sing. The pastor did almost all the talking. We followed a specific order of ceremony, outlined for us in a bulletin. The pastor preached/spoke to us in monologue form. It felt like we were watching a show.

What we attended was a wedding.

My family and I enjoyed it very much. We love the folks who were married, which made the wedding a happy occasion. Additionally, we don't usually go to more than one wedding per year. Due to the infrequency, it was special.

You probably see where I'm going with this post. The above ceremony I described could also be an accurate picture of most worship services. This is problematic for a couple of reasons. First, worship services are frequent. Nobody needs to attend frequent ceremonies. Ceremonies by definition are supposed to be special in part because of their infrequency. When they happen weekly (or more) they lose a lot of luster. Second, church meetings should be family get-togethers. These are, almost by definition, informal. Families hang out, simply spending time together. They participate in each others' lives. This cannot happen during ceremonies.

Weddings ought to be ceremonies. Church gatherings not so much. Let's make sure that when we come together we generally do so informally. This is when family life truly happens.

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