Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Coffee, Doughnuts, and Worship

More churches these days are offering worshippers coffee and doughnuts as they enter the service. At the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon, I remember when no one would have thought of eating and drinking in a church service. The ‘sanctuary’ was considered a ‘set-apart’ place/time to focus on God.   “There is an appointed time for everything” (Ecc. 3:1), and Sunday morning was a time for feeding the soul.

Before you accuse me of 20th century fundamental legalism, please hear my heart on this. I’m not talking about meaningless rules; nor would I want to restrict anyone’s freedom. No, I am speaking of the loss of something: the loss of un-distractedness, of undivided attention in our corporate gatherings.

While I understand our churches' objectives to be less culturally disparate, I fail to see how coffee and doughnuts add value to the worship experience. Paul was not discouraging Sunday morning coffee and doughnuts when he spoke these words, but listen to them as though he were. “I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord” (1 Cor. 7:35). Of course the real issue is not coffee and doughnuts, but how each of us is undivided in devotion to the Lord—and not just on Sunday morning!

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