As a child I knew there was a certain way I was expected to behave in church. It went something like – sit when you’re suppose to sit, stand when you’re told to stand and no talking or giggling or notepassing in between.
Fast-forward twenty something-or-other years and I’m finding myself in a sort of dilemma because I don’t want to be told how to behave anymore! I’m not sure if this has to do with what one of my girlfriends lovingly called my “rebellious streak” or if it’s because I – more than ever in my life – get what the gospel is all about.
I’ve learned over the past several years that the gospel is not simply a list of do’s and dont’s. It would be so much easier if it was! But the gospel is about our Heavenly Father sending His son to die so that the punishment for all of my sins was paid on the cross.
So the gospel doesn’t have a lot to do with sitting still and being quiet. Nor does it require standing to sing – though you can, if that’s better for you.
It seems that every church I go to has different expectations.
Church A: Be moody and slightly depressed so that we know that you are aware of your utter depravity.
Church B: Be smiley all the time and jump and clap at random when you sing because that shows the joy you have in Christ.
Church C: Be moved to tears by the guitar strumming behind the pastors challenge each sunday so that you rededicate your life to Jesus every. single. week.
Church D: Stand to sing. Sit to listen. Raise your hands only at the right moment or people may look at you weird.
Some of those may be a little over dramatic, but do you get my point? My problem is that I never seem to fit into the mold and I can’t really understand how anyone can.
There are Sundays when I’ve sinned miserably in the car on the way to the service so there is no way I can come in with a smile and good cheer. And there are times when I just want to sit and not sing, not because I don’t like the songs or don’t want to worship but because I just want to sit and soak in the words without trying to hit the right notes. And some times I want to kneel even though no one else is because it seems the only fitting posture for me at that time before a mighty God.
So how does this fit into a Sunday Corporate Worship Service?
I have no idea. No answers. No insight. I think I’m just going to keep doing my own thing and forget about all of those people who may (or may not!) be looking at me.