Archive for May 16th, 2010

The last several weeks we have been visiting different churches in our area. While I cherish my storied Lutheran heritage (my great grandparents were Lutheran missionaries to China, my grandfather was a Lutheran pastor, I went to Lutheran parochial schools and universities — you get the picture), I feel called to pursue a more fervent worship of Christ. I posted about it a while ago here. And there has not been one pivotal event or item that has prompted this seeking, but rather a buildup of experiences over the last few years. And I refuse to say we are “church shopping”. That label resonates of a consumer Christianity basis — a “what’s in it for me” spiritual centeredness. What we are looking for as a family is a place where we are called to worship God with our whole beings and souls, a place that is scripture based and where we can grow in scripture, and where we can serve with servant’s hearts.

Our latest visit was to a Saturday service of one of the local megachurches. Of course, such an experience is new to our whole family and we need to take cues from others to fit in and follow the service and processes. We also went with several other family friends of ours.

We sat in the front row in the upper deck (again, this is a very large church — arena is what I more likened it to). Some of the interesting rituals I am not used to is being offered a meager Holy Communion, both in litergy and in vittels. It was also at the early part of the service. Soon enough a plate of micro-chips (not like the computer chips – more like very small pieces of cracker) and a tray of grape juice is offered by the ushers walking down the steps. It is not unlike the peanut guy at the baseball stadium. And if you wanted peanuts and didn’t know that by raising your hand he would hurl one your way you would be just as caught off guard.

So I picked out a micro-chip and grape juice vial while trying not to hold up the process. No recitation of scripture — “In the night he was betrayed, our Lord Jesus took bread, broke it, and gave thanks…..”. No looking inward at your heart in examination. There was nice music and a call for forgiveness of sin but not to the seriousness or ritual I was expecting for such an important sacrament.

I adjusted and just tried to enjoy the experience knowing this was all new. Soon enough the ushers were bringing down something else. It looked like a prince’s velvet hat turned upside down with a wooden handle on it. He offered it up at the other end of the pew where I was at…..which had all our kids. One of the girls took it…..and then placed her communion “shot glass” into it. The other girls followed suit so when it got to me it had a few of those communion cups in it rattling around. However, what the kids failed to realize was that this wasn’t the communion cups disposal bag, but rather the offering “plate”. I reached in to take them out and was harassed by a buddy behind me — “You are supposed to put money IN. Not take money OUT”. I was unable to discreetly retrieve the rattling communion cups so I inserted my check into the not-very-Lutheran non-communion-plate velvet contraption and passed it down.

Note to self : when visiting a new church and being unfamiliar with the rituals, be sure to sit IN THE VERY MIDDLE so you have people on all sides of you to observe on how to do something right.

By the way, the message was great and right on. It is in line with what I have been blogging about here lately for the last several weeks. Go check it out here — Kindness and Gentleness When No One Notices.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net