Funny things happen in churches. People do funny things, and sometimes funny things just happen.
I’ve been chuckling for a few weeks about something that happened during one of my friend’s services. Like a lot of churches, they use a projection system during their services, and sometimes, something goes wrong. During the service, none of the music lyrics were appearing on the screen at the front of the sanctuary.
The good news is that they have a smaller projector and screen in the back that allows anyone on the platform to know what is showing on the large screen behind them. Well, wouldn’t you know it, the primary projector wasn’t working properly — but the small one at the back was. There we were, all turned around looking at the back of the sanctuary. Those sitting in the back, who like it there because they don’t get a lot of attention, suddenly were the center of attention. The looks on their faces were priceless as we all stood, faced the opposite direction and looked at a little screen above the rear balcony.
It was backward day at the church. The young pastor was mortified and kept apologizing. After the service, I told him about some of my bloopers.
Goofy things happen. One Sunday, an usher had something large and white sticking to his rear. At first, it looked like maybe his shirt tail was hanging out, but then I realized it was a paper plate! Turns out his daughter had a Sunday-school craft that included a paper plate, macaroni and glue. She set the craft on the pew, he sat on it and then proceeded to fulfill his ushering duties with the plate stuck to his rear end. I still chuckle over that one.
One warm spring day, we had the windows open in our sanctuary and a bird flew in. The first few minutes of the service were a bit of a circus as the bird swooped and dived, trying to find a way out. You could know where the bird was by watching the worship team’s eyes as they ducked and dodged the desperate bird. Finally, the bird, nearing exhaustion, got a little too close to one of the ceiling fans and got blown down and landed in the hair of one of the young women in the choir. At last, the bird landed next to a woman who was able to catch it and take it outside.
Needless to say, the first 30 minutes of the service have lived on in the mind of the church as the funniest day we can remember.
We come together to worship and expect there will be some meaningful happening. But often, the thing that happens is nothing like what we would expect. We clearly want to be respectful and thoughtful when we come to worship, but sometimes life happens and things don’t go as planned.
And you know what? God laughs. He laughs when projectors don’t work or birds join the service, and really laughs when ushers have paper plates stuck to their behinds.
Why? Because God takes himself seriously, but he doesn’t take us so seriously. All our efforts, even our best efforts, always are tinted with a hint of imperfection. God is not looking for perfection; He is looking for sincere devotion, even when that devotion ends up being kind of goofy.
If God is willing to laugh at our foibles, then why don’t we? Why don’t we live every moment with joy? We take ourselves too seriously because we actually believe that our actions will influence how God views us. Now, I’m not talking about sin; I’m just talking about how we carry ourselves, and how we view ourselves.
The Father is very aware of our foibles, but the blood of Christ covers even those. We come together, worship, laugh and remember that God has a sense of humor, too.
In the immortal words of Chuck Swindoll, “Don’t take yourself so seriously, because nobody else does.”
Harn is pastor at Victory Assembly of God and a member of the United Ministerial Alliance.