This is a follow – up post to “Don’t Go to Church During a Pandemic”
I didn’t mean to sound as if I was against Christian Music. Music has its place but Evangelical Christians should rethink their worship service. I grew up in the 1950s and most non-Pentecostal Protestant Churches all had traditional services. In the mid-1970s churches were more and more adopting an entertaining format where the congregant was a spectator or induced to join into the powerful music effect. Is this legitimate Christian worship? I did it for a long time and lately have wanted more something resembling the biblical pattern.
Most types of music appeal to me. I’m an old rocker. I remember going to a Petra and other concerts 35 years ago. I had a small music collection at one time. This hosting of concerts in churches, could be done on Saturday night or any day of the week, but not Sunday morning. However, on Sunday, during the Lord’s Supper, soft instrumental could even be played. Psalms from the Psalter, with or without accompaniment, would be fine, but not a praise band. Praise bands can happen at other times, I have nothing against praise bands. It the timing of praise bands is what I’m addressing.
Church Service Additions
The observance of The Lord’s Supper should be held at least once each Sunday. Early Christians interpreted the words of Jesus, “As often as you do this, do it in remembrance of Me,” as a daily, if not twice daily observance. In fact, the Temple had a twice daily sacrifice, which Christ fulfilled by being crucified at the time of morning sacrifice and expiring at the evening sacrifice. Therefore, we read in Acts 2.46 that they broke bread in their homes and not in the Second Temple precincts, probably, as not to be offensive since they attended the Temple also.
This remembrance is the time when non-clerics can say something, to take a stand of sorts. What I mean is that when The Lord’s Supper is observed properly, Christ’s death is proclaimed by those who take the elements. This symbolism is witnessing that one has taken Christ inside themselves by the ritual act of taking symbolic blood and flesh. The wine represents the blood of the New Covenant which promised that everyone would “know” the Lord in an intimate and personal way. I include the ordinance in “additions” since most Evangelicals I’m addressing under – appreciate this observance. It’s a stand that one takes publicly, identifying themselves as trusting Christ’s finished work instead of anything else.
A church meal after the service was also the pattern of early Christians in their “Love Feasts.” This practice seems to have roots in Judaism’s Temple worship where the sin offering is eaten by the owner as a sign of peace between them and God. In Middle Eastern culture, sharing a meal with someone spoke of being at peace with them. In the same way, “love feasts,” a communal meal among Christians, can mend, or induce mending of relations between members, and foster understanding and koinonia. Soft music, at this time, to not disturb the diners would certainly seem appropriate.
An early Sunday morning coffee club could be a fellowship and outreach time when the mood would be lighter and informal. The time could eventually transition into the prayer and teaching segment. Contemporary Christian music would be ideal at this venue.
Christian music is appropriate in many other instances, but just as a school discourages outside music, opting instead for oral and written communication, so the Church Service should feature reading and teaching and application, if one wants to understand what the first Christians did.