Originally posted May 3, 2011, at Tiny Dart Frog. Republished with permission of the author.
I took off the second Sunday of Easter as many pastors do. And I didn’t worship in a church building (I don’t know if many pastors actually skip church on their Sunday off).
I spent the morning running on the bike path — worshiping in my own quiet way, under the cathedral known as the outdoors.
I returned from my run about 11:00 a.m., checked my phone and saw a text from my music director.
Worship had only started a half hour before, so I immediately read it, just in case there was a problem. The time stamp on the text placed it being sent about mid-sermon.
The text read: “I find liver spots slightly erotic.”
Too confused to leave it
Puzzled, I read it again. For a very brief moment I considered not immediately responding, but I was so confused.
My text back to my music director was, “?Wow…um? Explain, but not now. It’s the middle of the sermon and I am NOT there…can I get an alleluia?!”
Let me say, my music director is very proper. I did not expect him to text me back, especially in the middle of worship! But he did text me back in the middle of the sermon.
His text back said, “Direct quote from sermon opening. I laughed a little too hard again.”
I stopped texting him, he was supposed to be worshiping after all. But, really? “I find liver spots slightly erotic.” As I told someone later, I can never top an opening like that.
I’ve laughed a lot about it. But here’s what I’ve been thinking about (when I can stop giggling) — I was actually OK with someone texting during worship.
Yes. You read that right. A pastor. OK with. Someone. Texting. During. Gasp! Worship.
Now, I would not be OK with someone texting their McDonald’s order or what they did last night or how cute the boy in the pew in front of them happens to be, but I am OK with people communicating parts of worship with others.
Worship worth texting about
I mean, what if sermons were so engaging and enticing that we couldn’t help but share them with others? What if our liturgy moved us so much that we wanted to text, “Kyrie Eleison”?
What if our music caused our hearts to sing with such desperation and sweetness that we texted, “Be thou my vision,” to our friend who doesn’t know what to make of this guy named Jesus?
The fact of the matter is we’re going to tweet and text; we’re going to Facebook and blog, so it may as well be about Jesus.
It would be an interesting experiment in sharing the good news if we said to our congregations, “Hey, everyone, keep your phones out today. Put them on vibrate. Text or tweet parts of this worship service and see what type of response you get back.”
And then, don’t leave it at that. Then — let’s talk about them. Talk about what we learn and what we share. Talk about what moves us and what leaves us feeling cold.
So, back to the liver spots.
I wasn’t there, but believe me, I’ve heard from many people about the sermon — all good things. My supply pastor is retired, so he made a joke about the only people that end up preaching the Sunday after Easter are new seminarians and retired pastors who ”find liver spots slightly erotic.”
But I’ve thought about that statement from knowing what the text was and not hearing the sermon. The story for the day, by the way, was Thomas. So, I was thinking about how we all feel compelled to reach out and touch that which is like us, yet foreign to us.
Jesus is that way. Jesus — fully human — like us. Jesus — fully divine — unlike us.
What a bunch of unlikely things to be matched in the proclamation of the risen Christ. God’s sort of that way, don’t you think? Catching us off guard, so we can do nothing but say, “Wow! What? How?”
Find a link to Christine Stephan’s blog Tiny Dart Frog at Lutheran Blogs.