A few weeks ago, Justin and I were given free tickets to a hockey game. It was very cool and fun, the first for either one of us. Here are some thoughts I 've had since then.
The last church that I went to, the praise and worship leader was a good one for encouraging the congregation to get hyped up during worship by saying loosely - How many times do we hoot and holler and get excited for or favorite team, but we can't even raise our hands in worship? I've been guilty of saying the same thing. And I think it's time we rethink this idea.
It is very easy to go to a sporting event and get swept up in the excitement of the game. The rest of the people know all the rules and what is going on, and that kind of true excitement is contagious. The same could be true of worship. This could be good or bad, depending. The hockey game that I went to was enjoyable. I had never been to a live sporting event before, so that right there was exciting. Neither Justin or I are very knowledgable about the sport, knowing the bare basics. You know...puck in net= goal. Somethings we picked up on in the game. "Power play" is when one team has the advantage because a member of the opposing team is in the penalty box. Apparently it's all right to throw off your gloves and helmets and box in the middle of the rink, even though you pay for it afterwards. The more we picked up, the more excited we got. I don't think it would have been the same to have someone sitting there explaining the rules play by play , that'd be something of a killjoy.
And then there are those people who believe we must be solemn and dignified in church. Yes, there are those moments. However...those moments are not always the same for everybody. If JOY is a fruit of the spirit...no one is going to be solemn and dignified all the time. You can't have it both ways. Sometimes that boils down to something I witnessed at the hockey game...PERSPECTIVE. It's very hard to keep your eye on that puck...very fast moving. All of a sudden one side of the arena will burst into either cheering or they'll groan and you'll go - "What? What I miss?!?!" Perhaps the solemn and dignifieds ought to consider this when someone is jumping all around excited - that maybe, just maybe, they've seen something you didn't. Maybe they made a connection and realized a truth about God...maybe they finally received an answer to prayer...maybe God whispered something in their ear. And for those who are joyful...who look upon the weeper...maybe they should consider that they're weeping because they've seem something you haven't. Maybe they saw a news report about a mother who abused her babies the night before and are lamenting for the babies. weeping for the lostness of a mother who could do that to her own. Maybe they're not even sad - maybe they're experiencing joy so intense that the only outlet is tears. I mean hey...if we're going to compare being drunk in the Spirit to being drunk on alcohol, it makes sense that some of the same rules apply - you have your silly drunks, sad/weepy drunks, angry drunks and those you can't even tell have been drinking. It's a big big world and we don't always see the game play until the replay, and when it's live, you just have to take it on faith that the other side of the arena saw something you didn't.
It's easier to be undignified at a sporting event because...
#1 almost all the people are there becuase they want to be
#2 one can logically assume that if they want to be there, then they're all of the same mind...this is their team and they want their team to win
#3 No one cares what the person next to them is doing because their focus is on the playing field and team not the people in the stands - even the irritating guy in the back row heckling the ref's is not enough to distract anyone - that's just his way of getting into the game.
And to be honest, I got a lot of grief in church for being "too undignified" - no matter what was preached from the pulpit and keyboard. But let me tell you something, from what I saw at the kockey game - my worship was far from being "too undignified". And here I thought I was on the winning team!