Spectators, Arena, Cheerleaders?
The different words we use to describe a worship gathering might illustrate semantic differences, or they might speak to our theology of worship.
Yesterday in the news, President Trump described a meeting with these words: studio, performance, reviews. Usually those words are used for television shows or stage acts, and political commentators made note of it.
People who have never crossed the threshold of a church building are more likely to see an audience and a stage and singers if they happen to stumble into a Christian worship gathering. That makes sense. Maybe most people seeking spiritual community would describe it that way.
On the one hand, we lifelong church people need to recognize how unfamiliar our language is to people who don’t do church. But on the other hand, we need to recognize why we do what we do and hope our language describes what’s really going on.
Preachers, liturgists, church musicians and church singers are not performers – although all of us want to shine. Charismatic spiritual leaders attract people. But the deeper reasons why we lead in worship is not about us.
The same is true in politics. Our political leaders are not performers although we gravitate towards charismatic leaders. But the deeper reasons why they govern is not about them.
Maybe Oprah will run for president and maybe she won’t. Some would say that she is already a spiritual leader. But she – and all of us – were created for something bigger than ourselves. I believe that God is watching us and notes who is being served.
Image from Architectural Artifacts in Chicago.