Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
- 1 Peter 1:8-9
“Christians are to enjoy life and enjoy one another. When children see no joy in their home, no joy in your Christianity, they will not be attracted by it. When they see you excited about going to a ball game, or watching television, and then dragging around to do spiritual things, they will soon get the idea that Christianity does not mean much to you. Tour attitude will rub off. My wife says that the best way to get a child to eat his food is to see his parents enjoying theirs. Our children will not be attracted to Christ if we make Him seem dull.”
- Billy Graham, Day by Day with Billy Graham (November 26)
Maybe I made Christianity too dull for my family. My wife wanted to understand, and after the boys left the nest, she came to understand. I felt that I was swimming upstream against a flash flood current going the other way. I was not always smiling and joyful when we went to church.
But I know of few people who could say that they were Joyful all the time, in going to church or in everyday life.
On the other hand, the church, that is the major denominations, saw that the television age had created couch potatoes who wanted to be entertaining and the classic traditional worship service was dull. They went toward spicing it up, and while they were at it, they watered down the message. In the sixties, they softened the message and took the emphasis off repentance. Now, they feel that saying that we are sinners might hurt people’s feelings, so “What is all this business about repentance, since no one can define a sin that I am guilty of?!?!” And all of that to keep the numbers from getting so bad that the individual churches must close their doors. If you want to see a church turned into a party center run by a catering company or a church turned into an apartment building or who knows what, come to our part of the Pittsburgh area. The buildings are still there, even with a steeple, but the cross is gone and the building “repurposed.” Maybe it was repurposed because it lacked the right purpose to start with.
Christianity done the right way – taught the right way, lived the right way – can be contagious if we truly believe the message. We do not need Chip Davis and his band to make an old song sound totally new.
We do not need the Pentatonix to sing it.
Wow! Both videos are beautiful, but it sounds like a totally different piece of music. The Mannheim Steamroller version was breathtaking. The video of Pentatonix is quite different. I tried for a third version, The Norman Tabernacle Choir singing it traditionally, but I had technical difficulties. All bring Joy to the heart, but my wife and I especially like the Mannheim Steamroller version.
My wife and I wanted to see some live Christmas music about ten years ago, maybe a year or two before I got laid off. I paid a slightly higher price than my wife wished to pay (30% above general admission and 50% above nose bleed seats), because I did not want to be stuck in the balcony with someone with a huge Christmas hat in front of me, as we had experienced a few years before (not a common occurrence for us to see a live performance) – not remembering the performer – never seeing the performer. Much to my surprise, the tickets for the floor level seats were all the same price, except for the orchestra pit, and front row center was available. I could not believe it, a Christmas miracle!! We dangled our toes into the orchestra pit for Mannheim Steamroller’s Christmas Live show – sorry, we had the keyboardist and violinist from the video above, but not Chip Davis. They have two different tour bands, splitting the original talent, but you would never tell the difference in the sound. And just hearing a video pf the performance brings back fond memories.
Where were the expensive seats? In the orchestra pit, since the ‘orchestra’ was on stage. And after the intermission, they played something and unleashed the fog machine. The orchestra pit, where only the patrons of the local PBS station, WQED, were sitting, became such a dense fog, they disappeared. I have no idea if they could see the stage, or even breathe. We had this beautiful white blanket between us and the stage. I leaned over to my wife and said, “I think we have better seats than the patrons.” She squeezed my hand, too excited to speak.
Why cannot we have that kind of excitement when we go to church? Why is it so boring? I know that my boredom diminished in recent years during the sermon when I purposefully wrote notes on every point that the pastor made, ravenously trying to learn the lesson so that it would be absorbed into my life. I should have done that for the previous 45 years. The church’s music is boring because the singers are not professional, in most cases, and the congregation puts their boredom into the music instead of their soul, most yawning instead of singing – now during COVID, only allowed to hum. Then again, some of the music might simply be unsingable, unless you are a professional. And the praying is pathetic. Some pastors do their best sermon during their prayer, others go through the motions, and the congregation is falling asleep, because their home prayer life is stuck on “Bless the food, but I have no idea why I say that. Amen” and “Now I lay me down to sleep.”
Billy Graham is right on that part. It is not the church’s fault in not entertaining us. The purpose of worship is not entertainment anyway. It is the congregation’s fault, individually and collectively, in not being prepared to have Joy while worshipping, maybe because Joy has left the building, or may have never been there to begin with.
The title of this post is what Billy Graham is really getting at, “Joy in the Home, the Lord lives here!!” If we act like we are excited that God really loves us and that we cannot wait to get to heaven to be with our Lord and we are totally enthused about taking Jesus with us to work each day and overjoyed that we have the opportunity to worship on Sunday… Get the point? Act the way that we say we believe!!!! If you fill a room full of such folk, the place will be rocking, even in a Frozen Chosen Church.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.