WMB SPECIAL — I am taking WMB on a detour writing a special post in this series about the Olympics. This is part of a series here
MYTH: Worship is nothing like the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony.
The Olympic opening ceremonies in Beijing, China cost more than 300 million dollars. It was indeed a spectacular display of culture and artistry and a celebration of humanity’s greatest efforts. What I find interesting is that no major media person or popular public leader has complained about the cost. Imagine if that money was spent on China’s poorest people. Imagine if that money went to their own earthquake victims. Well, you will not hear me echo those complaints. The historical event was worth every penny, in my opinion.
Why is it that we can accept the value of a humanistic event in its glory and celebration while us Christians sour on our own efforts at creating culture in our weekly celebrations of worship? In the past, we had pageantry, cathedrals and culture creation in art science and education. Today, we mimic culture and do it as efficiently as possible. How many Christian t-shirts have you seen that copy popular logos?
What we hear when we see extravagance in our celebration of our God today in church is complaint about the cost, the effort and the diversion of assets from “real” ministry. Real ministry is something other than our gathering of worship, after all. In fact, it is seems even popular today to say that worship is everything else besides our weekend gatherings!
We view our worship weekends as pragmatically as possible. How many people can we reach? What can we do to least offend? What will people who are not Christians react to? How does the worship weekend fit our current campaign or create buzz itself?
What Beijing’s Olympic opening ceremony teaches us in worship ministry is that worship costs. Yeah, a good sound system, a well-tuned room and competent teachers and worship leadership effect the budget. Quality takes effort. The activity of this is not just to pragmatically provide movement to an organization, but to engage a congregation of people in an extravagant act of exaltation. Beijing did it for their country. Why not do it for our God?