Radio Leicester Thought for the Day
© John Denney, 12 August 2003
Have you heard about the new phenomenon of “Flash Mobbing”? It’s where a group of people obey an e-mail and gather at a particular place and time to carry out some bizarre but harmless activity. Last Thursday, in Dallas, at 7:43 p.m., 40 people assembled, splitting into groups under two balloons, one red and one blue. The red mob began yelling “Marco!” answered by the blue mob with “Polo!” After exactly one minute of this, the two balloons were released, and the mobbers scattered.
Several million UK “flash mobbers” – and me – took part in a series of events last Sunday. My instructions were to gather at 1º 10’ 42” West, 52º 34’ 17” North at 10:45 am. We all then followed the leader’s directions. He told us to stand up and sit down, to sing songs of his choosing, to listen to what he had to say, and, after he had spoken particular words, we had to respond with “Amen”.
Of course, I was at the morning service at my church. But you have to conclude that some of what we were doing must look a little odd to an outsider, just like flash mobbing.
So why do churchgoers go? Is it a bit of fun, like flash mobbing? I guess there is some fun in going to church. The services at my church are lively, and the sermons, believe it or not, are enjoyable as well as instructive. We even laugh from time to time. After all, God gave us our sense of humour. But it’s not just fun.
Is it because of friendship? It’s good to meet with like-minded people. But in a church there’s more than superficial friendship: there’s fellowship. People talk, listen and pray; tell of joys and sorrows; and laugh and weep with one another. But it’s not just sharing.
Is it because Sunday services recharge our spiritual batteries? We are rather like individual coals from the fire. When we fall out of the grate, our glow starts to fade. If we didn’t meet week by week, we would soon grow cold, trying to be Christ-like in an increasingly Christ-less world. But it’s not just recharging.
No, the real reason why the church gathers together, is not to get anything out of being together, but to build our relationship with God. And we do that better when we’re together. It’s just what God wants.