Lights up. Smoke machine. Kick drum and synth. Worship.
I am spending my weekend managing the visual production in a youth venue at a Christian festival. I get to play with some super cool tech (see previous post), helping various seminar speakers to get their tech working (which involves a lot of setting up of Powerpoint).
In the midst of all this busyness–and because I have 10 minutes spare–I feel it would be remiss not to ask a question.
What is the point of the show?
150 young people jumping, shouting, dancing together. Loud music, songs of hope. A party.
And how can I participate in this show with anything like a clear conscience?
Extravagant festivals are nothing new to the people of God, being occasions when everyone comes together in gladness and joy to celebrate God’s goodness. So I’m not going to be puritanical in my condemnation of this kind of enjoyment.
There are those who might say that worship should be simple, emphasising the fact we don’t need ritual or show to reach God. Yet I fear such an idea rather misses the point: This ritual, the dancing and shouting and music is as old as the human race. To reject it for being deceitful or obscuring the Gospel then begs the question– What Gospel?
Sure such a show would deny a Gospel which demands young people sit neatly, behave themselves and deprive themselves of the earth’s good fruits (fruits which God commanded should come forth from the earth!).
I think the true Gospel is for whole human beings. Whole human being who use their bodies to jump around and their mouths to sing and their arms to embrace. It is not for minds sitting on hard pews.
And so I want to serve and be part of these young people’s lives as they come together to participate in rhythms older than time, to feel the warm love of friends and to give glory and honour to the One from whom all these good things come.