Last Thursday I took a break from blogging in honor of Thanksgiving. I hope everyone had a great start to the holiday season! (For those of you not in the States and who were expecting a new post, I apologize!) Recently I had the great privilege of being interviewed by “Worship Links” (you can check it out here), and I had the opportunity to contribute a guest blog post to that site (which you can read here). Through that, I made a new friendship with the mastermind behind the resource that is Worship Links, Brad Rhine.
For those of you involved in worship ministry in any capacity, Worship Links is “a hand-picked collection of the best worship resources on the web.” You should definitely check it out.
I am excited to share with you a post that Brad wrote specifically for this blog. I hope you find it encouraging and take away his important point, while having a good laugh in the process!
In our worship services, every detail matters. Even something that seems small and unimportant has the potential to derail a service. Even something as simple as a bite of bread.
Let me explain.
About ten years ago, I was part of a church plant that closed its doors. I had been the worship leader and an elder. My wife was in charge of children’s ministry. It was a sad and confusing time for us when the church ceased to exist.
My mom had been attending the church as well, and the three of us embarked on something of a spiritual journey over the next few months. One part of that journey was the Alpha Course. If you’re not familiar with the Alpha Course, it’s almost like a Christianity 101 class. It’s a real return to the basics and fundamentals of the faith. While we didn’t feel like we needed it intellectually, it turned out to be exactly what we needed spiritually.
Except for one small thing.
The church where we attended the class had been doing it for years, and they had it down to a science. One aspect of the class that they emphasized was the retreat weekend. It wasn’t an overnight retreat or anything, just a Friday evening and Saturday set aside for a more intense time of worship, study, and fellowship.
As the retreat came to a close on Saturday evening, we concluded with communion. The room was dark and lit only by candles. After sharing an intimate worship experience, we were each encouraged to go off alone and pray before taking communion, confessing anything that God had placed on our hearts. Once we had taken communion, we were to return to our seats in the circle.
After I spent some time wrestling with God, I went to take communion. I had never experienced communion by intinction before, and it was very different for me. I come from a decidedly non-liturgical background and mindset, so this was really a change for me. But it was good.
The lay pastor tore some bread from the loaf and dipped it into the cup before handing it to me. As I placed it in my mouth, I felt very much at peace. About my old church, about where I was headed, about a great many things.
Except for what was happening in my mouth. Something was seriously not right with what I had just eaten. I returned to the circle and sat down next to my mom. She was making an odd face, like she was biting on tin foil. I looked around the room, and in the flickering candlelight, I could see many of us licking our lips and flicking our tongues, as though trying to get a bad taste out of our mouths.
I sat and concentrated for a moment before I finally recognized the flavor I was tasting. It was garlic bread.
Somebody had bought the wrong loaf of bread.
Let me tell you: garlic bread dipped in grape juice is not a tasty thing. In fact, it’s pretty nasty. And looking around the room, it was evident that I wasn’t the only one who failed to appreciate the combination.
I still cherish that night, but I have to wonder how much better it would have been had someone gotten that one detail right.