Sunday, July 16, 2006

Where is the JOY?

The alarm goes off for the 5th time this morning, so you drag yourself out of bed resolving to get an alarm without a snooze button someday. You wake up a little more in the shower as you think forward through your day. Brush your teeth, dry your hair, find something 'nice' to wear. Get in the car and drive. Park in the first empty spot you can find in the parking lot and slip in the door just as things get started. Find a seat in the back and try to focus. Look around at all the other people. You used to go here all the time, but now, you hardly recognize anyone. Everyone is serious and somber. The song service begins. Funny how much 'better' the singing is here - seems nearly everyone is in tune. But something is missing. Look around. Blank faces. No smiles. Odd - it's a joyful song. Scripture is read; you hear very few pages turning. A prayer. You can't help but wonder how many in this vast crowd are actually conversing with the God they are here to worship. More songs; same blank faces. Time for communion. How many really focus on the sacrifice that this serves to memorialize? How many are just going through the motions of a ceremony that has become a routine? More songs; same blank faces. A sermon - very well-thought-out and executed. But how many are really listening? More songs. Another prayer. And then all the people come back to life. God-time is over - we can relax and have fun again. Something is wrong with this picture.

What happened to the joy? Shouldn't we be celebrating? We go through our worship services much the same as we do funeral services. But why? Yes, it is a serious thing. But Jesus is not dead! He's alive again! Why are we so somber? Why have we allowed ourselves to believe that God is pleased with our solemn faces and stiff bodies? Why have we allowed ourselves to believe that emotion has no place in worship? We worry too much about making sure we aren't mistaken for some other religious groups who may have taken emotion too far in their worship, and so we go too far in the opposite direction, removing it completely. What makes us think that God is content for our communion with Him to be emotionless? When the last 'Amen' is said, we come alive and laugh and enjoy each others company. I wonder if God does not get jealous over the emotion we show with each other.

1 comment:

Denise said...

Amen, Sister! I have wondered that many times myself. ~D