“This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me”
– Jesus –
The Christmas music played in the background as Rod wrapped packages. While the music brought back many happy memories, recent events took his mind in another direction.
Work at the courthouse was increasingly difficult. Last year they removed the Ten Commandments. This year county employees received a memo requesting everyone to tone down “Christmas” rhetoric. They didn’t outright censor “Merry Christmas,” but they might as well have.
Closer to home Rod received his yearly Christmas list: Put up the tree. Buy non-perishables for the church’s homeless offering. Put up the crèche. Have some holiday cheer.
“Very funny,” Rod thought to himself. “My wife thinks of everything: Have holiday cheer!”
And she did. She knew the pressures of work and the added stress of church had made Rod more than just a “grouchy bear,” as she liked to call him. Only two weeks remained until Christmas, and he was overwhelmed with Christmas events at church. And as a result his Joy to the Lord was out of tune. So to spark his Christmas spirit, Rod’s wife put him to work on the crèche he loved. It worked marvelously. Continue reading
Trevin Wax offers some provocative thoughts on how we should order our worship services. He considers the place of national holidays for God’s multi-national church and ‘hallmark’ holidays for the people marked out by God. His comments arise from a recent article in Christianity Today, which offered a variety of opinions on Mother’s Day.
He concludes his thoughts with a number of perceptive questions:
Why should the consumerist culture of the United States dictate what we celebrate as a church?
Why is it that so many American churches celebrate with great fanfare the birth of their nation (July 4) without even so much as mentioning the birth of the church (Pentecost)?
Does the way we order our time shape us as the unique, called-out people of God or merely reinforce our nationalist, consumer-shaped identity?
Trevin’s considerations challenge status quo evangelicalism, but that is why his thoughts are worth considering. We should always be willing to examine our church practices by the light of Scripture. Asking whether our church reflects or reshapes the culture around us, is an important prophylactic against watered-down Christianity. For more on the subject, see Trevin’s book, Holy Subversion: Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals.
May we be Salt and Light churches refracting the Gospel of Jesus Christ in all that we do.
Soli Deo Gloria, dss