A Traditional Yet Modern Service (Visiting Church #31)
It’s Saturday, and we head to church, a Seventh Day Adventist gathering. The focal point of the sanctuary is a large stained glass array. Modern and abstract it portrays an arm reaching up, with a dove upon an open hand. I’m not sure if the dove is being held, given to us, or presented to God. I ponder the spiritual implications. Isn’t that the point of art?
To its right are pipes for the organ, prominent, but not ostentatious. Next to them, on an angled wall, resides a large flat-panel monitor. Announcements sequence as the display counts down the time to the scheduled start. The service is the most technologically integrated one we’ve seen so far in our journey and certainly the most professional with its application.
The comforting modern feel contrasts with several traditional elements of the service: singing hymns, the pipe organ, and a male chorus. In addition to the organ and hymns, we also hear the piano a couple of times as well as two contemporary tunes.
It’s World Kindness Week, and today’s service reflects that theme. Two girls read about the Good Samaritan from Luke 10:33-37. The first reads in Spanish. (The only time we hear a second language.) The second girl reads from the KJV, even though the pew Bibles are the NKJV.
Some middle school students perform a skit, presenting modern-day scenarios about helping others. In the message, “Giving at a Cost,” the minister shares a story from Native American lore, again illustrating the theme.
The service is an ideal melding of the traditional and modern. With professional execution, engaging speakers, and compelling content that draws me to their worship.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.