A Worship Director’s Quarantine Ballad

I’m leading worship from my home. My pastor is preaching from his home. We stream our feebleness in solidarity with a church community that is, yes, at home.

It isn’t polished, and honestly, I don’t want it to be. I’m tired of polish.

We’re still “giving our best” to the Lord, but guess what… our best is still flawed. And it will never be as refined as the larger/hipper/richer church that streams just down the newsfeed from us.

It’s a shocking juxtaposition that despite our now-televised mode of gathering, worship services were never meant to be a performance. Certainly never meant to be judged as one.

They were just meant to be ordinary people gathering together to serve the Lord with acts of devotion that would bring the aroma of worship to His throne, some worshippers lending their voices to facilitating an order to that worship.

But then the services became more than that. They became events. They came to replace everyday interactions as the spotlight of Jesus’ work in our midst.

Except they weren’t. Jesus was still at work among us while we set our hopes on him moving in a “worship service.” Inviting people to a “service” because we found that easier than telling people about Him ourselves. How much have we missed?

This weekend, we can watch one church service after another. We can compare and contrast to our hearts’ delight. Talk about how great this congregations’ music was, the beauty of that church’s set design, how great this pastor’s message was.

We can watch hours of “content” and miss the point.

Church isn’t about content. It’s about finding community through Christ.

It’s about ordinary people lifting up their hearts and voices to the Lord in unity.

Even if we can’t see each other.

Even if we are off-key.

Yes, even if our hair is a mess.

Stand up if you can. Kneel down if you can. Anything but sinking down into the couch and making yourself a comfortable consumer of worship that is meant for God and God alone.

These worship gatherings aren’t a time for being polished. They are a time for being real.

Last week, the pressure of leading “on air” was so strong that I wrote out my opening words and read them. I didn’t care that you could tell I was reading. I just didn’t want to stumble all over myself with so many people watching. Yes, my “best” was still flawed. This week, I’m at peace with stumbling.

Your congregation’s best will be flawed too.

But the important thing is that the worship is authentic and Jesus is glorified.

Glorified in my living room with kids’ voices drowning out the serious, more experienced inflections of “adult” worship.

And glorified in your living room as you lift your voices to drown out ours.

Will people be watching who don’t yet grasp the good news that Jesus is King? Perhaps. But it’s not an overpolished facade that is going to convince them of it.

It’s going to be seen in how the community of Jesus lives out our devotion at work, on the road, in the stores, in our homes.

And now, more than ever, on social media.

This is what they are really watching.

So, yes, I’ll lead worship from my home again this week. With my family gathered ’round. And we’ll stream our solidarity with a church community that is becoming ever at home with our own feebleness.

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