Making Soup

I was part of an interesting discussion recently with staff members from various churches and denominational backgrounds on the subject of worship. Ultimately, we found ourselves discussing instrumental configurations, styles, song choices, form, and tradition all encapsulated by the topic, “what makes great worship?”

It soon occurred to me that what I was hearing sounded akin to a couple who when asked to describe true love responded with talking about their terrific sex life.

Not much about chasing one another around the kitchen requires truly loving devotion and not much about our “great worship” makes us true worshippers.

Back to the discussion with my friends, after I challenged the conversation with my somewhat base analogy they asked me in what context I viewed true worship.

After taking a moment I said, “Until we view things like making soup as an act of worship then we will never have a proper view of what it means to truly give God his worth with the daily parts of our lives and we will always feel as if we have to abdicate to the experts on Sunday to do it for us. We will have a very codependent relationship with experience if we lose site of the ordinary miracles in the moment. What the church needs to know is that when we lead worship it is we, the ‘worship leaders’ making our soup. We just happen to make our soup in front of a lot of people. My soup happens to include art, story, and music. You’re soup may be literally making a meal for a friend who is on her second round of chemo. The Sunday Soup was never meant to be THE soup.”

If the main thing that comes up when we talk about worship is how we do it then we are very much like the people mistaking love for how often they swing from the chandeliers together. If our view of worship is one that understands sacrifice and living a life that matters we are less likely to be satisfied with simply slurping down the soup that someone else serves up to us once a week hoping they season it to suit our own persnickety taste buds. Trust me, my Sunday Soup will never be so good that it will quench our need to glorify God in the unseen moments of our daily lives.

I understand that when a bunch of consumers come together and decide to call themselves a church, expressions of art, music, and story in worship will be a matter of specific taste (and even propriety in the opinions of some). However, the more we can see ourselves as part of a body of past, present, and future soup makers we can begin to embrace their various expressions and place less focus on our need to brand the soup.

Maybe it would be a good thing for our perspectives of worship and intimate relationships alike to step back from the hooha and just make soup together.

Join In the Heavy Lifting

I believe in Christian community. I believe in a body of people who come together regularly and know one another and share with one another. I believe in bringing our questions, our failures, our successes, and even our perspectives that don’t fit the grid of a traditional Christian and throwing it out there and working through all of it together.

We are in a sermon series that explores the model of Worship, Care, Serve as somewhat of a tagline that lets people know who we are as a church. It occurs to me that if we are truly doing any one of these then the other two will be in practice as well. If our worship is truly God focused, Christ centered adoration that changes us then we will be caring for others. If we are genuinely caring for others we will be serving. How can we genuinely care and not serve? Serving is just an outgrowth of sincerely caring and a byproduct of seeing Christ through the lens of a worshipping heart.

I have paid people to do my yard work weekly, train me at the gym, clean my house, wash my car, counsel me, consult with me, do my taxes, cut my hair, and even pick out my clothes for special events a couple of times.

I order food online, books that download directly to my cool electronic devices, buy music that I store in a “cloud” and have even been known to use valet parking at the mall on those rare occasions that I still shop retail.

I’m not unique in this lifestyle. The people in my worshipping community live similarly or better. I’m not saying that any of this is bad. It is the fruit of progress in a world that has changed more in the last one hundred years than all of history combined when it comes to technology.

Where the wheels begin to wobble in this cultural paradigm is when we bring these lifestyle expectations into the church. We end up waiting on people to serve us instead of seeking opportunities to serve others. We wonder why our paid staff can’t handle all the hurting and needy people in our midst. After all, that is their job, right? We pay them to do that.

We want to come and drink the coffee, experience some form of worship that is supposed to happen to us, and hear a message that is going to challenge us in ways that we never considered before because we have essentially paid people to do all of these things.

I wonder if the reason that so many of us have such empty experiences in the church is because we aren’t investing ourselves. When we view the church as a place where we go and get an experience on Sunday it will never be enough. When the church is a place where others do the heavy lifting so I can float in and out it will never be community to me.

We will experience the church as she is meant to be when we are willing to invest ourselves beyond our experiential expectations and consumerism.

When we worship, care and serve we are truly living in Christian community but not if one is without the other two.