Years ago, I heard a comedian talking about going on vacation. He spoke of how the things we take with us on vacation are really a mini version of home. Smaller sizes of essential toiletry items. Fewer options for clothes. Just what we’ll actually use while we’re gone.
He went on to talk about a time he and his wife were on vacation, and they did a quick overnight excursion away from the house where they were vacationing. For that single night, they took an even more cut-down version of home. Just what was absolutely vital for that overnight trip. But once they arrived, they left most of the things they brought at the place where they would spend the night, and went out sightseeing for the day. They took even fewer items for that daytime jaunt. An even smaller array of necessities.
Honestly, I don’t remember his point or even what made the whole story so funny. (Although I seem to recall that it was funny.)
But the whole idea does make me ponder what’s really important. When everything is all stripped down – when we have to decide what is life-sustainingly important – what would we choose? What things are absolutely essential for us to survive?
And for us as Christians – if we look at it from the perspective of worship – this is a powerfully important question.
What if every Christian church no longer had any choices about many of the things that have divided us? What if those choices were made for all of us and we were all forced to acquiesce in exactly the same way?
- What if you couldn’t choose the music style – it was already chosen for you? And everyone did it the same?
- What if chairs vs. pews was mandated by the government? You were forced to take what they gave you, and so were all the other Christian churches?
- What if video projection vs. hymnals was also a decided issue? And every church did it exactly the same way?
- What if sermon length, number of songs used during a service, even appropriate dress – were all predetermined by those in governmental authority?
You could still meet together – as often as you wanted. You can still preach the Word, and use whatever text you want. You’re even free to expound on that text with total and complete freedom. But these other issues could not be changed.
And more, what if every single issue that I just listed went against your own personal preference? Not that your preference was used once or twice, but never. Every single one of those was done in a way that is the exact opposite of the way you would prefer.
How would you respond? And, most importantly, could you still worship God in the midst of such a scenario?