Yesterday, I shared some thoughts on what some (those who come to church as spectators) might call an oxymoron: the worship service. I don't want to "beat a dead horse," but the idea that the congregation is the audience watching performances of those called to serve on the sanctuary platform is repugnant to me. It is made even more disgusting by the fact that I am often guilty of it myself. It would not be a stretch of the imagination to picture the congregation holding up numbers at the end of a song or the sermon, just like judges rating the performance between one and ten. To find out what they thought of the message, one would only need to add the numbers and divide by the number voting. Ludicrous, right? Maybe so, but when we "discuss" our opinions of the performances, aren't we doing that very thing?
The main point I was attempting to get across was that the congregation is not really the audience; it is supposed to be "performing" worship. Perhaps the reason it is so easy to fall into Satan's scheme of spreading discord among the brethren is because of the way the auditorium is laid out. The congregation is seated in a semi-circle facing the platform in the same way a movie theater, a classroom, or an orchestra concert would be. I wonder what would happen if the seating were a complete circle, and those who normally participated in the service were scattered among the rest of those attending? The preacher would simply stand where he was seated, as would the singers and musicians, sort of like the Quaker's worship service. Of course, instead of the Holy Spirit moving in their hearts to express their gifts according to God's time-table, the person in charge of the order of worship would make sure everything happened "in a professional way."
I can see another problem with my "seating arrangement." People tend to sit in groups of people they feel close to, and therefore, when the "audience" put up their numbers at the end of each "performance," those sitting closest to the "performer" would be biased toward him or her, giving a higher number. That would be unfair, right?
The fact that much of what I have said in these last two posts is sarcasm, should indicate my disdain for how I, and many of my fellow church goers, act. Unfortunately, sarcasm is a sharp, bitter, or cutting expression or remark; a bitter jibe or taunt. The word comes from the late Greek σαρκαζμόσ (sarkazmos) taken from the word σαρκάζειν meaning 'to tear flesh, gnash the teeth, speak bitterly. By using sarcasm, I am also guilty of being judgmental and being unloving. I am slowly but surely discovering that I am not a very good Christian. For that, I apologize to my readers. But the point I am making is valid, and it is this: the audience at every worship service consists of God Almighty, His angels, and Satan. I ask you to decide which of these is most pleased with how you behave in church. If you are like me, I am afraid you owe God an apology too.