Substance Over Form

Farmville Enterprise Oct 2014

Since 2010 I’ve been traveling five or six weekends per year. One of the best parts about that is getting to visit a variety of churches. Before figuring out where to go I look at websites to read about core beliefs. Although I do prefer a certain form of worship, I’m much more concerned about substance. Last week I had a delightful conversation with the ninety-one year old mother of Michelle Galusha. She told me about her Baptist Church in Pennsylvania. She said that, although she does not love the more casual attire and contemporary music choices, she convinces her friends that they shouldn’t complain. The church is full of young people. The form has partially changed but the substance has not. Growing up, my brothers and I always preferred the “folk mass” in the Saint Mary’s gym to mass in the ornate downtown Annapolis cathedral. Our parents preferred the latter. The substance was the same. The form was different. Sunday I visited our oldest son near Washington DC and was eager to worship at The National Community Church. It was a first for both of us. The service was in a movie theater! Thousands gather at seven theaters around the DC area each Sunday morning. Two of their ideas are that the church should be the most creative place in the world and that God desires us to care for the poor in our city. Their well-planned focus on mission and service reminded me of the Summit Churches in the Triangle.  Many of the congregations I’ve visited hold to the familiar “in essentials – unity, in non-essentials – liberty, in all things – charity.” No matter what our preferred form of worship, let us rejoice that there are sisters and brothers all across the globe loving and living out the substance of Scripture!

1 thought on “Substance Over Form

  1. So true. The core of the gospel is the crux of Christianity, however we do or don’t dress it up–with whatever preferences we bring to the table. (DD from Bristol). I don’t usually read blogs, but I am really enjoying yours. Thanks.

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