Thursday, August 15, 2002

Thought of the day: time and worship
"I like connecting to something older." I think those were the exact words of my friend yesterday on the topic of church worship. We each attend Fourth Presbyterian here in Chicago and appreciate the formality, the beauty of the cathedral, the interesting preaching and intellectual engagement. His quote may seem a fogey-ish statement for two men under 40 to endorse, but we both have our problems with the Overhead Projector Revolution in churches over the past two decades--play the drums, make some noise, flash the words onto the overhead, and POOF! you have Instant Relevant Worship (TM). It's emotional, it's engaging, but it's also fleeting, here one moment and gone the next--just another momentary flash pulsating at us in our modern MTV culture. It doesn't feel connected to anything that came before it, nor, like my friend said, does it often have clear theological roots, which may make you roll your eyes but can anchor and sustain the experience of worship.

Connecting to something older. We seem to have dwindling opportunities to do so today. Touring historic sites, voting, celebrating Christmas--these rituals place us in time, in the context of something larger, tying us to other human experiences beside our own. In an MTV world there are no such ties, little context, little that is larger than yourself except for the projections of performers before you. So each Sunday I like to sit in church, try to take it all in, let my eyes leap to the grand arches of the building around me, sing or recite familiar words, participate in the ongoing story and fellowship of the Church, and feel my soul come out of its media-battered shell during a rare hour of actual peace and renewal.
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