Monday, June 18, 2007

No Bells. No Whistles.

Whenever we used to visit my grandmother's house when I was growing up, we always drove her to church on Sundays. There was a church in town that someone would drive her to most weeks, but if my family was there we all went to the one in the country. She preferred it.
This church was a very simple, white, square-shaped building. You walked up 3 steps, through the double doors, up the center aisle and sat down in a pew. (Avoiding, of course, any pews with fans, Bibles or pillows on the seat, or wooden step-thingies on the floor. Because that would have meant taking someone's usual spot.) Some time after the building had been built, they had added some narrow classrooms on the side of the auditorium. I suspect it used to be a hallway.
I have fond memories of going to that church. The wooden floor creaked. The people were all old and friendly. And the singing was good and loud and off-key. (Hey, it says make a joyful noise unto the Lord--and that they did!) Everyone was always SO glad to see our family visiting and they always asked my dad to lead a prayer while he was there.

It would absolutely make some people cringe to have to attend that church today. There is just so much room for improvement in their worship service! They need help with the singing! A slide projector would do wonders in that room! Their children's classes would just take off if they would add a wing to their building! They just do things the same old way, week after week!

It's true. Their church service was very simple. It did not change. But it was orderly and intended to bring praise and glory to God. Thought was put into each word that was said and the singing was from the heart. Those old folks left that little building on Sunday and lived their lives the same way they lived them while they were inside church. What you saw was what you got.
The memories of that little church came back to me after about a week of mulling over this verse:

This is love for God: to obey his commands. (1 John 5:3a)

The simplicity of that verse just struck me. Those people who faithfully showed up at church services every Sunday for 60 or 70 years and spoke and sang and worshipped together...they were obeying the Lord. They loved Him and they obeyed.
No bells.
No whistles.
Just obedience.
I want my life to be that simple, too.

1 comment:

  1. I have learned so much about *staying* in a church without the bells and whistles. There is something to be said for good, simple worship and the Word, without all the hoopla.
    You are right, in this day and age it's more about the building, right?
    Great thoughts.


I don't get to talk to a lot of actual grown-ups during the day, so your comments make me really happy! :)