When You Want to Sneak Out Between Hymns
by Donna Morton
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What do you think about opera?
Some people are so moved by a Pavarotti-like voice that tears are certain to fill their eyes. Other people cry at opera for other reasons, and are so moved to misery that theyd rather sleep on nails than sit through The Marriage of Figaro.
Ive only attended one opera and it was because two girlfriends and I got free tickets to what felt to be the longest opera in history. On it dragged, and worse, was presented in Italian. Sub-titles were given, but we were sitting under the theaters balcony where some fancy trim work blocked our view of those ever-important titles.
Lost like balls in tall grass, we could only laugh when others laughed, clap when they clapped and ooh when they oohed. I cant give you even a short synopsis of this opera as Ive no clue what it was about.
One of my girlfriends was as bonkers-bored as I was; the other friend was perched on the edge of her seat, eyes as glossy as the glaze on a Bundt cake. Clearly, she was mesmerized by the activities on stageand because we call came in one car, this meant sneaking out wasnt an option.
At least I had one partner in boredom and we passed the time by fidgeting. Unfortunately, we also got tickled, meaning we were slapped with the overwhelming urge to laugh at inappropriate times. Suppressing the giggles was like trying to hold back a tidal wave with water volleyball net. We coughed, sniffled and gulped for air, activities that drew sharp looks from people sitting nearby. One woman firmly ordered us to:
There was nothing I could do except leave the theater. Pretending to need a drink of water, I excused myself through 15 pairs of legs and sought refuge in the lobby, where I vowed to never again indulge myself in A Night at the Opera.
Years have passed since that waste of an evening. Today, I truly do appreciate the sheer power and beauty of opera, but it was a long time coming. Reflecting on this, Im reminded of how negative experiences have caused some people to have a disinterest in church.
Thats not good, and I think my pastor best explains why:
Whatever you think about church, he warns, is usually what you think about God.
Well, some people find church to be a yawn-fest. Others think its full of judgmental, humorless hypocrites, while others view it as a fund raiser for the collection plate. Then there are those who see it as a house of rigid rules and requirements, or a place where teaching is vague, confusing and raises more questions than it gives answers. Finally, there are those whose church experiences have been downright scary.
This is really too badbecause none of those churchy ideas are accurate portrayals of our Lord.
Some people do attend church, but it proves to be an attempt to find a message squeezed between the sit-now-stand then-sing-that-sign-up-for-everything-and-pass-the-plate activities. Instead of growing and thriving in Gods Word, they fidget and play follow-the leader by responding when and how others respond. Sometimes theyre clueless as to what was preached, and couldnt give a sermon recap if their lives depended on it.
According to the Bible, we should be getting a lot more out of church than that.
Acts 2:42 teaches that Biblical doctrine, fellowship, prayer and observance of the Lords supper are among the purposes and activities of the church. When implemented and followed correctly, such things should keep us grounded in faith (Ephesians 4:14) and enjoying an environment where believers are devoted to and honoring of each other (Romans 12:10). Well instruct one another and treat each other with kindness, compassion, encouragement and love. (Romans 15:14, Ephesians 4:32, 1 Thessalonians 5:11 and 1 John 3:11).
That sounds a lot like Jesus, doesnt it? If our present church is truly reflecting Him, were probably attending because we want to, not because we should or because its expected. We want to hear Gods Word and learn all there is to learn about applying His teachings to our lives. We desire the fellowship of those who wish to mirror Christs character.
When it comes to church, do you want to enter through the doors, or are you looking for the quickest exit?
What DO you think about church?
c. Donna G. Morton May 2008
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Well done!!!! This piece was chosen to be highlighted in the âCheering Sectionâ of the Faithwritersâ Message Boards. Congratulations! Click here to see yours and the others that were selected this week: General Submissions JEWEL CHEST
Your humorous lead-in was an interesting way to get your very important points across. I enjoyed your article very much and appreciated the message.