I don’t like to think of our worship services as “just a little bit dull,” but compared to what people now routinely are exposed to on an almost continual basis, perhaps that description is not far off. I suspect there are some people who would probably say church is more than just a little dull. While we strive to make our music enjoyable, uplifting and honoring to God and seek to have sermons that are not only faithful to God’s truth but also interesting, one will see far more lively and impressive shows in all sorts of venues these days. The entertainment media has a lot more money available to put on good shows and terrific production values. So on the level of “diverting intervention” Hollywood wins every time.
If there’s no television to watch the kids today have their I-Pad or their phone to distract them. And it’s not just the kids. Everywhere I go I see people totally absorbed in their phones. It’s like we have to be doing something all the time. We can’t just…be. I, like Mr. Fraser, suspect that this is not such a wonderful thing for us. I fear that more and more we are entertaining, amusing and distracting ourselves so we don’t have to pay attention to some of the weightier and deeper matters of life. I fear that what we lose is a sense of God’s presence, an ability to drink deeply of the life that is around us, and to enjoy and connect with people. All the noise of the entertainment and the distractions has a tendency to drown out the often quiet voice of God and to blind us to the hurts and the needs of the people around us. It may keep us from enjoying them and entering into their triumphs and their fears and defeats. Perhaps worst of all the need for me to be constantly amused, distracted and entertained says that life is all about making me happy. I am the center and I need to have fun right now. That is a disastrous message.
How are young people going to learn to take time to be quiet, to listen to their own hearts, to listen to God, to actually see the hearts of other people, to just be totally present in the moment, to revel in the beauty of this day that is a gift from God if no one teaches them? If they never see it modeled before them? I don’t think the church needs to make an effort to be “just a little bit dull.” Actually I suppose being dull can happen without effort. But I do think we should make an effort to stop the noise, not merely entertain, and learn to be quiet in the presence of God. We need to make an effort to help others, especially young people to do the same.