Sunday, January 29, 2006

It Takes A Miwacle

When I was in high school there was a mentally-challenged woman at our church who wanted to sing for the morning services. She did not sing well. Nevertheless, our minister allowed her to sing once or twice per year.

I distinctly remember seeing her stand before the congregation and sing "It took a miwacle to hang the woold in space." I sat in a pew with 8 or 9 other high school boys squirming through this painful and embarrassing moment... and every one of us knew in his heart that letting this woman sing was the right thing to do.

At my present church there has been talk from the leadership that our goal is to provide the best and most appealing worship service to help bring in new converts and members. And they have succeeded in this goal because they put on a very professional and smooth service. Much can be said for being efficient and appealing to the public and I regularly pray for their success.

However the woman mentioned above would not be allowed to sing at our church. Perhaps the leadership thinks such a spectacle might cause someone to be "turned off" and not accept Jesus... to which I would remind them that it's the Gospel, not our management of it, that produces the "miracle" of a changed heart. More likely they think that someone might opt for a church that provides a better time... which would suggest that it's a business decision.

We the members of the 21st century Church do a lot of thinking... but I wonder sometimes if God isn't in Heaven saying, "Uh oh, they're thinking again..."

I would suggest that as our churches get bigger and more professional, we may be losing something important. I suppose in Bible Colleges and Seminaries they teach students how to be successful and how to "grow" a church... but I fear our church services are in danger of becoming just one more entertainment... so much like the world.

My high school church wasn't very slick... but on the Sunday that the mentally-challenged woman sang we had a message for our visitors and potential converts that was also appealing... one that spoke of our values and how we treated our family...those in our care. We displayed kindness and acceptance while sitting through this woman's tortured rendition of "It Took a Miracle"... while God tapped his foot to the rhythms of this poor woman's child-like faith.

1 comment:

Mary said...

Your last line says what it's really all about.