Monday, February 11, 2008

Workdays at church

This last Saturday was an incredibly productive workday at our church. The dynamics of it (the relating, the working, the service, etc.) left we wondering if what happened Saturday is really all that dissimilar from what happens on Sunday. We often call the Sunday morning service our "worship" service," but is not the communal care of the gathering place also an act of worship? Old Testament Levites would say so. In addition, we often call Sunday school a "learning time," but I would wager that the dynamics of Christian living learned on the work site could rival anything formalize into a education curriculum.

The distinctly communal aspects of Christianity are well expressed when people are working side by side. One's work spills over onto another's, and then grace is necessary to keep shalom healthy. I find that it's very refreshing to see Christianity "worked" out in this manner. Such work is the stuff of a healthy church, and it encourages even greater health and fitness in the collective body of Christ.

Appearances of false piety are more difficult to maintain during physical work as well. A person may wear a reverent mask on Sunday morning that Saturday work leaves them no extra energy to maintain. On Sunday morning, one person may sing praises to God, secretly harboring resentment for someone two rows over. On Saturday though, the resentment can be much less secret, alerting leaders to strive toward reconciliation. It's nearly backward that Sunday comes after Saturday, for Saturday's work reveals whether Sunday's services have any affect on one's character. Or perhaps they are not backward. Perhaps the grace that was necessary to work well on Saturday is meant to have an affect on Sunday. I've said before that on Sunday mornings, the preaching began when the first note was struck. Maybe I should amend that phrase to say instead, the service began on Sunday when the first hammer was swung on Saturday. Ah, that sounds better.

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