One of the perks of living in a college town is all the sporting events you can attend. My family and I went to watch the Indiana University women’s volleyball team get pasted (sorry to say) by the nationally ranked Penn State team.
The little gym was loud and vibrant. People yelled. The band played. We engaged in our liturgies around the flag and the communal cheers we all shared. We sang the fight song with more gusto than nearly any church I’ve attended. And then we dispersed into the night.
Attending a sporting event can be among the most ritualistic experiences we ever encounter. And yet, we almost never bring to it the kind of weariness that often marks worship. I suppose the drama of the game is largely the cause. Worship is not a drama in the sense that a sporting event can be. At the very least, the drama is invisible, hidden in the past or lurking in the spiritual.
I don’t know that you would want a church service to be like a volleyball match. But it did get me wondering how it is that we drain all energy and vitality and drama and adventure out of Christian worship.