Recently I was hanging out with a mommy friend when the inevitable question of my job came up. It was more along the lines of "what exactly do you do?"
The conversation meandered to swapping faith backgrounds, and she told me that she was Russian Orthodox and her husband was Lutheran. She declared that she didn't like Lutheran church services.
How come, I asked.
She began describing how the services were so distracting because of how much they just talk at you. The long sermons where they just talk and talk and talk. She lamented that there was no time to think, reflect, and talk to God. In Russian Orthodox services, they were conducted in a language she couldn't even understand... and she loved being there to reflect on her week and to pray.
I found her observations so fascinating, and it reminded me how we often interpret experiences through our own lenses. I could imagine many typical Protestants assessing a Russian Orthodox service and criticizing how you couldn't learn anything because you couldn't understand what was being said. Because learning during Sunday service was essential.
But really, who gets to decide what "must be" during a church service? Do services have to involve lengthy sermons? From the few times I've been to mass, I will admit that often the simple message of a 5 minute homily stuck with me throughout the week longer than whatever I learned in a 45 minute sermon.
What if church was just the place you showed up to meet with God?
What if there were fewer pews to sit on and there was all this carpeted space for people to freely move around? Well, one benefit I could think of would be that it would be more conducive to lay prostrate. And wouldn't that be a particularly wonderful position to be in before God on a Sunday morning?