Sermons

Summary: Worship is like sex. If you are only having sex because you love your partner and you know they are into it but really you just want to get it over with, then you are missing the point. It is meant to be fun. It’s the same with worship.

{in a monotone voice}

Today we are here to bore you. That is what worship is all about. After all, that is what happened on the first Palm Sunday. As Jesus entered Jerusalem a few bored people managed a half hearted {sigh} “Hosanna to the Son of David”. A few more people who had been daydreaming woke up at that point and joined in with the second line “blessed is the coming kingdom…”

{change voice to an enthusiastic one}

Except that is not what happened!

‘Hosanna!

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!

Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!

Hosanna in the highest heaven!’

One of the 8 Quality Characteristics we are pursuing as a church is Inspiring Worship. What’s the opposite of inspiring worship? Dull worship. Boring worship. Worship that makes you say “please God will this be over”

That’s not what Worship is meant to be like. It’s not what Palm Sunday was like.

Worship is like sex. If you are only having sex because you love your partner and you know they are into it but really you just want to get it over with, then you are missing the point. It is meant to be fun. It’s the same with worship. If you are only doing worship because you love God and you know he’s into it but really you just want to get it over with, then you are missing the point. Worship is meant to be fun.

Worship flows throughout the Gospel narrative.

Our Lady hears that she is going to give birth to the Son of God, and what does Mary do? She bursts into song. “My soul proclaims the glory of the Lord, My spirit rejoices”. Then the angels appear to the Shepherds and… burst into song. The wise men appear before the baby Jesus, kneel down and worship him. Sometimes worship involves physical actions like the woman washing Jesus’s feet with her hair or the sharing of bread and wine at the last supper Sometimes it involves singing like Mary did. Often like on Palm Sunday it involves both. And it’s never half hearted. At least it wasn’t then.

But what about today

Fr Michael White, an American Priest describes going to worship while on holiday. He happens to be catholic but I think his description could apply as much to the Church of England or to any other denomination.

“At the door a grumpy usher grunted at me. Everyone else avoided eye contact and ignored me. ... the congregation exuded a huge “us versus them” culture… a hundred little details (the devotional prayers insiders prayed before mass that the rest of us didn’t know or the weird way that they passed the offertory basket) underscored for me that as a visitor I did not belong.

There was no opening hymn because the organist had not shown up on time. The organ was in the sancturary so you could see she wasn’t there and you could also see when our luck ran out and she did show up. (during the [sermon]). When the music came it was old school stuff that everybody knows and nobody likes. Nobody sang or even pretended to try….

The lector read the readings in a way that convinced me he had never laid eyes on them before. The celebrant was not the pastor, but some other priest who did not bother to introduce himself. He sort of assumed we knew who he was, but it didn’t matter. Who he was or what he had to say seemed deeply irrelevant to the assembly….

He began “Your pastor loves you so he told me not to talk for more than five minutes”. The fellow in front of me replied in only a half whisper “If he really loved us, he would tell you to shut up”...

{he issued pledge cards for the mission he worked for.} Instructions for filling out the cards took up the rest of the sermon. It turned out to be twice the length promised.. Here’s the thing. Virtually no one paid any attention. They stared at the ceiling. They stared at the floor. They talked to one another. The glanced at the card. They dropped it on the floor, but they paid no attention and as far as I could see no one actually made a pledge.

...Then we powered through the rest of mass as if the building was on fire. When I returned to my seat from communion almost the entire section I was seated in was gone. Finally the remaining faithful were inundated with a string of announcements which were actually (unbelievably) more fundraising appeals, this time for the parish itself.

At the dismissal, instead of some charge to “go in peace and serve the Lord”, the celebrant says “Don’t forget, at the beach it’s always happy hour”...

Copy Sermon to Clipboard with PRO Download Sermon with PRO
Talk about it...

Nobody has commented yet. Be the first!

Join the discussion