Recently I went to a church "service" for the first time in months. While I couldn't connect with much of what was happening there, I felt really touched by the message that was taught. But at the end of the service, I had a feeling of incompleteness. I wanted to talk about it with the others, tell them how it spoke to me and hear what it meant to them. Discuss how that could become part of our life. But there was no room for that.Connect with your thoughts, Nuno... and thanks for them!
In the end, I felt cheated. I used to think of church services as restaurants, but now I see most of them as cooking shows.
A restaurant is a place where you go with some friends to eat something special. You may know some other people in the restaurant, but you only share the experience with the people that are in the same table. At least you get fed.
In a cooking show, on the other hand, you see someone cook, and you can even see the result, which looks tasty and beautiful. But that's it. You can't eat it, savour it, ingest it. You can only look at it.
I prefer a restaurant rather than a cooking show. But what I really love is a community. In a community everyone cooks, shares recipes, tastes each other food. On a community you not only get fed, you are part of it.
We seem to be restricted by time... church is almost like Can't Cook, Won't Cook where people bring random items of food and the celebrity chefs have a limited time to work their magic and make a great meal... or at least what looks like a great meal because we have no opportunity to sample it... no opportunity to participate... to contribute... to the mix.
Restaurants at least let you choose what you want to eat... and let you savour it... but, at the end of the day, there are those serving and those sitting back enjoying what was prepared.
Taking it one step further... Just like Nuno, I would like to see church like a communal family kitchen... where everyone is busy doing what needs done to make the meal... like the family barbecue where someone is manning the barbie... someone is preparing the salad... someone is doing the dishes... and loads of people are contributing through conversation... and laughter... and helping out as and when required. No one is a passenger... no one is a bystander or spectator.
At the end of the day... church should be about contribution. Church isn't a service but the servers... and we should all have a chance to give towards the meal... regardless how we do it.
This is where S*N*A*C is going... and this is where the Army excels at times... with testimony time and contribution through the sections... but is it enough? We need more opportunity to tell our stories... and worship as and when it feels right.
What do you think?