Yesterday I was on my way to church, listening to a sermon on my Iphone, when I saw the repetitive flashing of a California Highway Patrol car in my rearview mirror. Yep, there was no mistaking it, he was after me. Ugh. My heart sank. How fast was I going?
It has been 12 years since the last, and only other, time I have been pulled over and I ended up with just a warning that time. Maybe I would only get a warning again. What would I say though?
As the cop made his way up to the passenger side of my car (I was pulled over on a very busy part of the freeway) I found myself blushing and tongue-tied and trying not to make any sudden movements that could be interpreted as reaching for a gun (yes, that thought entered my head and NO I don’t own a gun nor do I ever intend to). Well, I thought, there will be no groveling. That’s just not my style. I would be honest and take the ticket. After all, I was in the wrong if I had been speeding.
With the cop tentatively crouching at my window we went through the uncomfortable dance of question and answer. Can I get your license, registration and insurance? Is this your correct address on your license? Do you know how fast you were going? Is there any particular reason you were going that fast?
I scrambled and found the things he asked for and I had a bit of a hesitation at the last question. This was my chance to stretch the truth. I could play the “I’m going to church to lead worship,” card. But no, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I wouldn’t want my bad driving behavior to reflect badly on my church.
A few minutes later, after making sure I wasn’t a convicted felon or serial speeder/ticket collector, the cop returned to the car and sent me on my way with a golden ticket. No not a fun Willy Wonka golden ticket, but the see you in traffic court/pay a fine for speeding kind of golden ticket.
With an ache in my chest I merged back onto the freeway and then spent the rest of the drive replaying “what I said” VS. “what I should have said.” The number one thing repeated in this one sided pretend conversation, though, was “I am on my way to church to lead worship.” I kept thinking, what in the world does that mean? Lead worship. Those two words now feel like rocks on my tongue. How could something that sounded so normal now sound so foreign? Take a moment and imagine if you’ve never stepped foot inside a church. Then imagine hearing that sentence. It just doesn’t translate. Outside of the church, that phrase does not exist.
So I am going to ponder this for a day or so and then finish this blog. In the meantime I want you to tell me your thoughts. How would you explain to a non-christian or someone who doesn’t attend a church or maybe even someone who does attend a church but is still confused:
“What is musical worship that is found in a church?”
Sit down and imagine yourself talking to the barista at Starbucks, or the cashier at your grocery store, or the cop that just pulled you over who has no clue what you are talking about and tell me what you would tell them…
Feel free to repost/retweet/ask all your friends this question so that we can get a large number of answers. I will post my thoughts in a few days. Till then, get to commenting your thoughts here!