Come on…admit it…we have all nodded off in church. Blame it on a lack of sleep; a stressful week; or just that you cannot quite connect with the preacher who is trying to articulate the nihilistic culpability of Pilate in light of modern consumeristic tendencies…see, you are doing it again! Have you ever nodded off to the point your head lobbed one way, jerking you awake and then you glance around wondering who saw you? Remember, we televise every Sunday!
It is okay to admit it – church can be boring. It has had that reputation for a long, long time. It did not start with me. In the Bible there is this story found in Acts 20:7-12, about a young man named Eutychus, whose name means “good fortune.” I am guessing he did not feel so fortunate at the time. Eutychus was attending “church service” on a Sunday evening. The guest preacher (Paul) just did not know when to stop. I had a lady in my last church who would sometimes criticize a speaker, (never me of course) by saying, “The fellow missed several good exits.” Anyway, Eutychus nodded off during the service. Usually that is not a problem except that he was sitting on a window sill three stories above ground. He fell to his death, but Paul said do not worry, Eutychus will be fine. Sure enough, Eutychus’ life was restored, and Paul kept preaching until sunrise. You have to admit, if that ever happened at our church we would not have a problem packing the pews.
Church can be boring and some may wonder if Church matters when it is not entertaining, or the production is not so good or the programs are not that attractive. Surely church is not about entertainment or productions or programs. Yet church ought to be relevant, don’t you think?
If church is not relevant, does it really matter? The challenge of every community of faith is to matter and while I have no problem if our worship is a good production and our events are entertaining and our ministries are attractive programs, if they are not relevant then all we are doing is competing with most other distractions. Church has been gathered to make a difference in lives, the community and the world.
Surrounded by a culture bent on consumption ending in death God wants to raise up and bring new life to the gathered and sent community of faith. We are called not to react to the world in a quid pro quo debate of ideologies, but offer something new and life-giving. The politics, the commerce, the strivings are rendered mute and void in light of the life God freely offers.
I am thinking Eutychus probably stayed awake for the rest of the service that night (and apparently morning). He experienced first hand the relevancy of not only a changed life, but a new one. Young and old we who are on the margins are poised for transformation. This is the heart of what God is seeking in we who bear the Divine Image.
Let’s not just sit around this Sunday and be bored – may we lean in to hear and experience what God wants to raise up among us. How can we fall asleep with that going on?!
Grateful that you matter to me – see you this Sunday,