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Mother's Day, Memorial Day, Father's Day, and Independence Day. Those 4 special days usually spark some interesting conversations among the preachers. Sometimes, we can be a strange breed majoring in the minors while Jesus sits back and shakes His head.
Seems like every year, there are discussions about how appropriate it is to honor mothers, veterans, fathers, and the good ole US of A during the worship services, and rarely is there a change of heart at the end of the day. Some of us say that there should not be anything special happening because it takes away from worshipping God while others go all out and invite Uncle Sam to church.
Personally, I feel that if the people want to do something special, it's all good as long as we still have the basic elements of Acts 2:42. And there goes another discussion about whether or not Acts 2:42 is descriptive or prescriptive. Well, all I can say is that we have enough evidence that communion was served, prayers and songs were lifted up, and the Apostles' teachings were presented.
That being said, I believe that there is a reason why the bulletins for Christ's Church at Antioch were not preserved. The programs from the church at Philippi are also missing along with the Corinthian Church Calendar so there seems to be some wiggle room for what we do with Sunday morning. I do find it strange how those who support freedom to be creative with our worship are usually the same people who oppose saying the pledge of allegiance and singing patriotic songs to start the service.
Like most of our issues with the church, there is more than meets the eye. The real question is not about the appropriateness of adding special stuff to the service. What we really want to know is, how much culture can we allow before we end up exchanging the cross for the flag?
Was Jesus concerned with culture? It depends on which culture you are talking about.
When trying to make an argument for or against allowing special elements of the worship service, we usually compare our government to the Roman Empire. I have a feeling that this might be part of our problem. The Roman Empire may have been in charge of the dominant culture of the day, but there was a sub-culture that we should pay attention to.
In Jerusalem, the Sanhedrin maintained their own laws of the land that applied to God fearing Jews all over the Mediterranean World. They were a sub-culture of the Roman Empire, and Jesus went along with some of the celebrations that were not part of the original Law of Moses. Perhaps it would make a good research project for somebody to study the moments when Jesus did something for the sake of the Jewish culture instead of rebelling because it was not part of the Mount Sinai mandate.
We may be surprised to find out that Jesus was not fighting the same battles we fight today because He was too busy living out His mission.
For this reason, I would suggest that we stop freaking out when somebody tries to add something special to the worship service. Instead, we should embrace the opportunity to promote unity in a nation that is suffering from cracks in the foundation. We should celebrate the mothers and fathers during a time in history when the family is under attack from those who oppose traditional family values. We should take a moment to thank God for the freedom we have been blessed with and while we are at it, we should thank the families who lost their loved ones because of the fight to keep those freedoms from fading.
And here is one more discussion that was added this year to the round of scholarly squabbles. Memorial Day began as a time to remember the men and women who died during the civil war so we should not include other wars. Did I mention that we preachers are a strange breed majoring in the minors?
Here is my response that will not win any popular votes for me in the circles where I connect with fellow kingdom workers.
We have used the phrase "Splitting hairs" to describe situations where we get too picky about subjects being discussed. Another phrase would be "Splitting logs" for firewood.
Each time we get too picky with our discussions, we are splitting logs. And if we keep doing that, the log will end up split to the point where the only part left is a tooth pick you can use for your teeth after you are finished devouring the church.
I understand that we don't want to turn our worship services into a social meeting of the masses, but I am sure that God will allow us a few moments to celebrate life while we are gathered together on special days.