Empty Stage

Last week our community’s worship gathering was displaced from it’s normal location in the chapel due a scheduling error. We discovered this just one day prior to our gathering!

What began as a highly stressful situation, became a very special gathering for our community.

Our team relocated the gathering to the stage of the building’s 3,5000 seat auditorium. We filled the stage with round tables and chairs, softened the lights, and placed the band on the lower section of the stage. It was truly a sight to behold (Go Team!).

We had already planned a different kind of flow for the night. In place of a sermon, Benj led the community in Lectio Divina (This is an ancient Christian practice of meditation and contemplation upon scripture.).  There was no preacher, just individual meditation followed by small group discussion.

The combination of what we did and where we did it made a powerful statement to the community. While many people showed initial discomfort with going up onto the stage of the auditorium, they quickly settled in. While there remained a few skeptics, the overwhelming response from Lectio Divina was extremely positive.

I do not plan to make this the permanent setting or format for our gatherings, but there are some concepts that I hope we will continue to grasp.

God is Our Leader: This night was a good reminder that it is God who leads our community. In the practice of Lectio Divina we are dependent upon the Spirit of God and the Word of God to teach us. Our community has some good leaders, but ultimately we all strive to follow God not people. We need to remember that truth.

We are a Community of Priests: The scriptures make it pretty clear that God has called all of us to ministry. However, our church structures and practices often contradict that truth, leaving ministry up to the professional staff. Part of the good news of the scriptures is that all of us are called up onto “the stage.” Of course, not all of us are called or gifted for the literal stage, but we are all equally called to the work of God.