A gentleman visited our church yesterday for the first time. He normally attends another church nearby, but wanted “to see how we did church.” He was friendly enough until he walked into our sanctuary. He noticed that our projection screen was covering up most of the cross. (We use PowerPoint in our worship service and unfortunately, the screen is in front of the cross.) He went off on a rant about how churches are hiding the cross. In his opinion, churches are becoming social clubs. I mentioned it would be interesting to hear his comments after the service. He said he wouldn’t have any comments, only opinions. It was a bit of an odd way of starting the morning, but there you have it.
It did make me think about our church, our worship service, and our ministries. Is the cross visible in what we do, say, teach, and how we live? While fellowship is certainly part of what we do, are we more than a social club?
Ironically, I am currently preaching through the gospel of Mark. We wrapped up a section (Mark 2:1-3:6) where Jesus created controversy because he changed the old way of doing things. The Pharisees taught that you had to be good enough for God. You had to live by their rules and regulations in order to be holy, or at least, that’s what they taught.
When Jesus showed up, he made changes, both in how we relate to God, but also in how we live. Jesus replaced religion with a relationship; he replaced the Law with grace. He demonstrated that he was Lord over all. He was the Lord over sickness and sin (2:1-12). He was the Lord of redemption, calling the least and the lost to himself (2:13-17). He was the Lord over change (2:18-22). He was the Lord over the Sabbath (2:23-3:6).
While the wooden cross may be partially hidden behind a screen at United EFC, the teaching of the cross was certainly on display and up front.
Afterwards, the gentleman said that our worship service was “nice.” I guess he did keep his opinions and comments to himself. I hope he finds what he is looking for.