I heard from the trees a great parade

July 22, 2008

As the praise band finished our songs that began the church service on Sunday, we walked with our guitars out into the lobby to put them away so we could come back into the sanctuary with the gospel choir. But we discovered a small difficulty: Erica had left her guitar case at the front of the church. As we instructed one of the church youth who sang with us to get the case, she hesitated, saying, “Church is going on…you can’t just walk up there during the service…”

The youth group leader looked skeptical and replied, “The church is a living and breathing thing. It’s not a play. You’re allowed to move and be alive.”

I couldn’t help but note the significance of that statement.

Our regard of church has become too concerned with flawless presentation, and so we all cringe in agony when the sound system makes obnoxiously loud feedback in the middle of the sermon—not just because it hurts our ears, but because it interrupts the successful smoothness of the church service. I’ve noticed that many contemporary churches have created a fine line between entertainment and worship.

But church is the people.

Since people are far from flawless and do things like let a baby near the sound controls or leave their guitar case in the front of the sanctuary, the movements and mishaps of church embody us and reflect our imperfections.

I used to get completely frustrated by tone deaf voices that stood near me in the choir stands. But, strange as it sounds, after singing in my more perfect-sounding gospel choir in college, I found that when I returned to sing at my home church, the bad notes of voices that clashed with mine were comforting and seemed more alive. Life is nothing smooth or flawless. It’s when we attempt to gloss over our mistakes and present ourselves as perfect that we become even greater hypocrites and liars.

If we spend too much of our energy on Sunday mornings concentrated on getting things just right, we can easily create a nice and entertaining service that is too far removed from our imperfect lives.

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One Response to “I heard from the trees a great parade”

  1. ericajadelynn said

    Okay, I get it- I’m tone deaf.

    No but seriously, at least we get it. How do we break this habit?

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