Taste vs. scriptural mandate

04/19/2017 Farmville Enterprise

As the Church, we are called to worship and serve God. Probably for as long at the Town of Farmville has existed at least some Christians have made an effort to put aside experiences and tastes that might divide us in order to care for each other in the name of Christ and to fulfill the Great Commission together. Even within any local church body there are bound to be various preferences for worship styles and ways of operating.

We hear repeatedly how wonderful it is in Farmville that there has been a long history of churches working together.  From pulpit exchanges to the Farmville Benevolent Ministries and from the Farmville Ministerial Association to the Community Outreach Kitchen there is a deep understanding that the ties that bind us are greater than the things that could separate us. The community Lenten services this Holy Week reminded me of differences in tastes or traditions that should not divide us but actually make life more intriguing.

The Bible does not specify exactly what kind of music we should use during worship. Psalm 100 says, “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”  When the aim of our singing is to praise God we will get it right, no matter what our music style. In the Lord’s eyes, one genre of music is not better than another.

Some people like to use a hymnal. Others say they can concentrate more on God by not having to turn to a certain page or hold a book, so they prefer seeing the lyrics on a screen. This is simply a matter of preference.

The Bible does not tell us how we should dress for worship. Christians in Kenya undoubtedly wear outfits to church that most of us don’t wear in the United States.  Some Christians feel strongly about wearing their “Sunday best” as a tribute to God while for others too much attention to wardrobe detracts from their spiritual goals. We had good friends who did not believe in getting new Easter outfits for their children so the celebration was only about Jesus. In our family, we did not feel that the resurrection message was diluted by new clothes. Either perspective should be respected.

At the Lenten luncheons or various church meals some people prefer to go all out with the menu, table decorations, etc. while other Christians intentionally choose to eat meat or desserts only rarely and maintain a more simple approach to such things. “One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.”(Romans 14:5-6)  May we be careful to consider the tastes and traditions of our brothers and sisters and make an effort to value their ways of doing things as well as our own.  


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