Sunday, May 16, 2010
Solid Food, Really?
The old evangelist had decided to come into town a week before the services to get a feel for the climate at the host church. He entered the sanctuary ten minutes before the official start and took an obscure seat. He saw some limited amount of real engagement between parishioners, and then the praise team wound up.
Music was professional. Seasoned hymn book Gospel choruses were noticeably absent. A corporate effort at song was strained.
Announcements followed as the clock raced on. "Oh the blessing of last week's get -together. Oh the promise of next week's seminar. Check your schedules. Don't miss it. And there will be food."
Next came the offering. A reverent moment. Junior Pastor Terry Bullpen gave a prayer which was largely about blessing that offering. Some names of sick and shut-in were also raised. Jesus was thanked for His marvelous love.
Senior Pastor Ernest Pitcher took the pulpit and checked for his wireless mike and remote prompter. What followed as a sermon was, in the estimation of the old evangelist...pablum. Basic principles of redemption. A sprinkling of personal anecdote and humour. A single foundation text lost sight of very quickly in a lecture of ethics and "should do's". A brief illustrative video on the overhead which was worth a chuckle. Then the noticeable shift into the earnest tone of voice and the altar call for salvation.
Older members of the body could be heard chiming in, "Amen to that...Preach it Brother." Three rather embarrassed and confused "twenty-somethings" went forward for prayer. Elders raced forward to be at their sides. And then it was over. Greeters were already at the back door. The clock confirmed it. Eighty minutes and done. On the button. Second service to follow.
The old evangelist shuffled forward to the pastors and introduced himself. "Gentlemen, does the main body of the assembly take what I just saw as solid food?" Pastor Pitcher responded, "Oh, so you are Brother Fuller! Well sir, we are an evangelical church and we tend to moderate the message for anxious inquirers and new believers in our midst. This we find bears fruit."
"My friends if you dared to open up some of the deeper things of God and of His Christ you would continue to equip a viable force of prayer, of wonder, of vigour and of manifestation in your church family. Infant spirits would not be wooed intellectually. Rather they would see of the glory of God, loathe their uncleanness, become desperate and leap into the light...May I have such a liberty in the upcoming meetings?"
Both pastors shuffled awkwardly. "Very well, I will make sure to be at home Tuesday evening at eight o'clock for your phone call and decision." With that the old evangelist was gone.
Somewhat flushed of face, Terry asked his mentor, "Did you GET any of that?"
"Nope", Ernest replied.
Fade to black...