I’m still not finished with that second desert temptation of Jesus. Two more things. One today and one more tomorrow. If Jesus would have jumped off the roof of the temple and allowed God’s angels to save him in front of all those crowds, it would have been quite the spectacle. Amazing. Incredible. Wow.
Do it again.
People would have kept showing up every week, every day, if Jesus were going to jump. And that would have created a community of spectators, a group of people who came for the show. They would be there faithfully. Every time the doors were opened. And they would watch. They would sit back and watch. And then they’d go to lunch and talk about what they saw. They’d critique this week’s jump. How did it make you feel? What did you like or not like about this week’s jump? A community of watchers. Spectators.
Might that be one of the reasons Jesus said “No”? Creating spectators is not The Jesus Way.
I believe there’s a real temptation to try to dazzle our people in our worship centers on Sunday mornings. More culturally-relevant songs, more culturally-desired audio and video presentations, a more culturally-acceptable pace and tempo and environment. If we’re not careful, we’ll create a community of spectators, a generation—or several—of not disciples but spiritual couch potatoes. We’ll find ourselves filling up our bleachers and trying to give our people a show. Or an experience. I think that’s a very real temptation today.
And that’s just the opposite of The Jesus Way.
Jesus invites his disciples to participate, never to just watch. He invites us to participate in the worship and to join him in the mission. He sends us out together in groups of two and groups of 12 with his power and with his authority to drive out demons and cure diseases and to preach the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick (Luke 9). When he feeds the five thousand in Luke 9 Jesus gives the bread and the fish to his disciples and has them serve it to the people. Participate. Get involved. Don’t just sit there.
The Jesus Way is to get up and get busy. Everybody. Nobody just watches. We minister as we’re ministered to. We care as we’re cared for. We forgive as we’re being forgiven. We love as we’re being loved. Together. That’s The Jesus Way.
Thanks to Dale Bankhead and Brian Kendall (we’ve got to stop calling him Brittany’s husband!) Whitney and I got to take in Tuesday’s Rangers-Astros game in some sweet seats in the Ballpark. Ian Kinsler went deep in his first two at bats. Millwood and Jennings combined on a nice five-hitter. And Pudge Rodriguez tied Pudge Fisk for the all-time major league lead in games started as a catcher. (We gave Rodriguez a standing O when he hit his solo shot to cut the Texas lead to 6-1. I doubt he would have received the same level of love if his blast would have meant something for Houston.) A Lemon Chill and a new Josh Hamilton jersey for the Whitster, ballpark nachos for me, a big Rangers win and a great daddy-daughter night for both of us.
Our Little Middle, Valerie, has been down in San Antonio all week on a Junior High trip to minister to urban children in the downtown parts of the Alamo City. We haven’t spoken to her since they left Sunday afternoon. But we’re able to keep up with her through the miracle of Lance’s blog. (It’s a miracle he’s actually updating it three or four times a day.) What a joy to log on and see Val, from 200 miles away, reading with little kids, teaching a Bible story with puppets, and giving piggy back rides. She’s so good with little children. She has a heart for that kind of thing. I think our God is going to use her to touch a lot of people in her lifetime.
While I agree with the participation point, isn’t there some room for improving the presentation to make it more up to date? If the Jesus Way is to get up and get busy, shouldn’t you use a little dazzle if that helps you get them busy?
Maybe the worship service should be totally revamped? Start with Holy Communion or what if the screens “happened” to not work (think Airplane) and people had to use hymnals? And while we are at it, what if we changed up Sunday School and Wed night to make them more participative/discussion oriented rather than lecture?
If the object is for people to get up and get busy, isn’t everything up for review and discussion?
My suggestion would be to start with eliminating the sermon which is totally a spectator sport.