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"Worship" vs Worship

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A funny thing happened at church yesterday.

My wife has been bringing her friend with her to church for the past couple of weeks. As we launch into the 10x10 vision, we're committed to doing our part as God directs. Part of the way we're reaching out is asking an unchurched friend and her son to visit church. And last week, she accepted Christ!

She was so excited to see my wife this week in church they began talking excitedly together. They were buzzing back and forth during the first song and well into the second. There was talk of Jesus love, baptism and even a few tears. It was a powerful moment - I was moved sitting just down from them seeing a life so dramatically and instantly changed.

But I could tell the woman in front of us was going to blow a gasket.

She looked back once or twice with "those eyes." She looked at her husband a minute later and rolled her eyes. She shrugged to her friends. She even kind of scowled back once, I think trying to use ESP to tell the 'bubblygirls' behind her to be quiet. Finally, near the end of the second song, she just had to say something.

"I'm sorry, but can you guys talk to each other later? I'm trying to worship."

During her "worship" she missed the most beautiful expression of worship ever. Angels were dancing in Heaven and she was ticked on earth.

Now, in her defense, my wife's friend IS loud. She does get a bit excited and I'm sure it was distracting. She doesn't know the "rules" of church and even stopped the offering plate later in the service for an extra 4 minutes to write her check. But isn't that all OK?

Sometimes I like Christians more before they know how to act like Christians.

Why am I so worked up about this? Because I've done it before. As my wife and I talked about it after our post-baptism-celebration lunch, she admitted to doing it, too. Busting someone without knowing the whole story. Getting frustrated without knowing the other half. In fact, I now realize I'm doing that to this lady in front of us, right? Is it possible that this was her last Sunday to live and she is living knowing she's terminally ill? Is it possible she brought her jaded son and daughter-in-law to church for the first time after years of trying - and some jerk behind them is being loud and distracting?

Hmm ... not sure where I'm going with this, other than to say maybe we should loosen up a bit in church. Maybe we should empathize with each other a bit more. And maybe our first reaction to a disruption in the service is that God is up to something, instead of someone being distracting.


posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:56 AM |

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At 9/10/2007, Blogger Leigh Sarti said...

Sorry, I told my wife not to say anything to the loud people behind her, but she couldn't resist.

At 9/10/2007, Blogger Joshua Griffin said...

Hahahah ...


At 9/10/2007, Anonymous Mystery Meet said...

Your father directed our attention to your blog on the FFF. Very well written.

I've been on BOTH sides of that window... being the noisy one and being the annoyed one. Mostly, (sad to say), the annoyed one.

There won't be much shushing and eye rolls in heaven, I suspect...

I've passed this along to my senior pastor and worship pastor. I think they'll be moved by it, as well.

At 9/11/2007, Blogger matt said...

I had nearly the same thing this past Sunday. It was a young couple behind us. But, they weren't talking about anything God related, and they talked through all the songs, the whole message, and even during the last prayer. We didn't say anything, but everyone around us gave them the same look, to no avail. Let's just say that we saw what they look like, and won't be in front of them again.

At 9/11/2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post.

At 9/11/2007, Blogger T5Guy said...

Josh, great post. Being a worship leader, I honestly don't see any of what is going on...i usually have my eyes closed :) But, I have been on both sides. I have been the loud one, but my wife was the one who gave me the dirty look :) Great news about your friend!

At 9/12/2007, Blogger Joel said...

Thanks for the post. I will have posted it, in its entirety (with a link of course to your blog) on my blog and might, with your permission, print it in our church newsletter.

At 9/12/2007, Blogger Joshua Griffin said...

Go for it! JG

At 9/13/2007, Blogger Ryan said...

Hey Josh! Great post and a great reminder!!


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