Others attend church services in auditoriums in which highly skilled bands, rock star preachers, large screens and special effects are the chosen media for the gospel message.
My husband and I attended three different churches, each from a recognized Christian tradition, over the Easter weekend. We visited my parents’ church for a Good Friday Tenebrae service, experienced a Saturday night Easter Vigil with our son, and then worshipped at our own church on Easter Sunday morning.
The saving truth of the events of Good Friday and Easter Sunday was clear, beautiful and heartfelt in each service, although expressed with unique emphasis.
I loved it, and the combined experience felt like a rich celebration of Christian diversity.
Christians are notoriously divided over both style and substance of church services, and they always have been. It’s no wonder we have umpteen Christian denominations and then various divisions in many of those. Is this ok? After all, we think, Jesus prayed that we would be one.
I once expressed concerns about this to a friend, and she responded with a fresh and welcome perspective. In her wise and winsome way, she said that she thinks of each unique Christian denomination as emphasizing and preserving a valuable piece of our unified tradition and heritage.
A wonderful feature of Christianity is that it can be expressed in any culture, as opposed to other world religions that come packaged along with a culture. Therefore, church services in suburban American will look very different from those in China or Brazil or Pakistan or from the church down the street.
We can be “one,” as Jesus prayed, without liking the same music. We can be “one,” and still take different views on baptism, eschatology, and predestination (to name just a few of the doctrinal issues over which churches have divided.)
We are ONE big, diverse, multi-faceted, wildly talented, passionate, and expressive family in Christ.
Let’s learn to celebrate each other.
If you are a Christian, have you experienced a variety of worship styles? Do you enjoy visiting churches from different denominations?
If you’re not a Christian or a regular church attender, do you see Christians as united or divided? Diverse or monolithic?
“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope when you were called – one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ appointed it.” Eph. 4:3-7