Get that stink eye out of my pew

Last month at Theology on Tap, Sean Johnson joined our table and discussion about worship. We began the night talking about our most awkward worship experience.

A lot of these awkward moments came during communion, which is not surprising. We ask the entire church body to get up from their seat and walk forward...this activity alone puts the awkward-o-meter over the top. Then add all the details regarding which direction to move, when to dip, how to dip, when not to dip, when to drink, what to drink, how to drink, what to do with your empty cup, presumed expectations around who and who doesn't drink from the common cup, the pregnant pause when you indicate that you are abstaining from  wine. Good thing Christ promises to be present in the wine and bread--otherwise, who on earth would risk all of this potential social embarrassment? Thank you, Jesus, for redeeming our extended time in jr high.

Other awkward moments came when visiting a new church...

getting the stink eye from others or having not ONE person talk to them (Seriously? Come on, people. We are all clinging to a sinking ship here...). Then, there were technological failures and uncontrollable giggles during a funeral (my favorite).

We also asked what are the things that worship has to contain in order for it to be "worship"? Some of the things I heard were: music, structure/rhythm, a message or sermon that speaks into my reality, variety, silence, authentic leadership, things that are done well (but do not have to be perfect), communion, singing the Psalms, active participation.

Finally, we ended with sharing the most amazing worship experience...and I heard: a communion service where everyone was invited to participate (even those who had previously been excluded), a service that had a profound sense of  reconciliation--expressed through music, a service where I was able to participate, a service that was thoughtfully crafted to bring word and vocation together.

There you have it, folks. A night at Skinner's has once again been a good use of our time.