I was the assisting minister in church yesterday. That required me to sit up front with the pastors and read aloud a selection from the Old Testament, read the Psalm responsively with the congregation, and then read a selection from the New Testament. This week I read from Jeremiah and Romans. I really love reading the lessons, and I try my best to convey the meanings in them to the congregation.
Last year we hired a new Worship and Music director. It is a lay position. She has done a nice job revitalizing our worship services. I must confess, however, that I find her presentation more than a little disconcerting . She really, really, loves the Lord, and during services she beams with this beatific glow from her head to her toes. The problem is that she expects those of us assisting in the worship services as well as musicians to exude the same joy she does. I was raised in a more somber tradition, in which you don’t show much emotion in church, and public displays of religious fervor are highly suspect. This passage from Matthew sums up what was deeply ingrained in me growing up:
And when you pray, be not like the hypocrites. For they love to stand in the synagogue and on the street corners to be seen by men. . . But when you pray, go into your inner room, shut your door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen.
Our services are now in person (we are all masked), as well as broadcast over a live Facebook feed and over the local radio. The other Sunday after Husband was the assisting minister, our Worship and Music Director emailed him to chide him for looking too serious and glum during the service. Husband always looks glum. Moreover, it is hard to exude joy in a mask, or when you are reading something gloomy from the Old Testament. We just ignored her email.
Yesterday as I sat in front and read the assigned verses, I couldn’t help but smile surreptitiously behind my mask as I thought about this number from The Producers.
I imagine the Worship and Music Director wouldn’t think it was very funny, but it really sums up her idea of putting on a church service. Her tenure is limited, as she and her family have moved to another state. She brought us some good ideas to enliven worship, but I am relieved I won’t be chided for not putting a sappy look on my face as I assist or provide music.
When have you had to put on a show?