More church changes

Posted 2/10/19

Religion has gone through a vast change in the past 80 years. Worship services themselves have gone through a significant change. I recall that it was customary, when a prayer was led, that the one …

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More church changes

Posted

Religion has gone through a vast change in the past 80 years. Worship services themselves have gone through a significant change.

I recall that it was customary, when a prayer was led, that the one leading the prayer would bow on one knee to pray. All heads were bowed and eyes closed — not so anymore. Those leading prayers today normally stand facing the audience, using a public address system in order to be heard.

Numbers were announced for songs, now in many churches the songbooks have been replaced by overhead screens.

Bibles were used in the services, opened, and references checked. Now when I look around during services, many have brought no Bible to check references. Those who are diligent enough to follow along in scriptures which the speaker uses, I see not books, but the Bible displayed on electronic devices.

Nurseries for infants have served to prevent crying babies, who once would be a disturbance during church services, to be cared for away from the assembly in the sanctuary. 

Worshipers now expect to meet in complete comfort with thermostat-controlled temperature, adequate lighting, and cushioned pews. Gone now are the kerosene lamps, hand and wall fans, and homemade wooden benches. Sound amplifies enable the speaker to be heard, and there are individual amplifiers provided for the hearing impaired in many buildings.

The messages are recorded in larger congregations for future use, and some are broadcast live on radio or television. During the passing of years new gospel songs have been written, and the younger song leaders tend to want to sing those which have been written more recently.

Now "Rock of Ages" and "The Old Rugged Cross" have been replaced with songs such as "As a Deer Pants for the Water" and "These Are the Days of Elijah". As mentioned, song books have become largely unused as the songs selected are projected on a large screen that all can see.

I prefer the older songs and never tire of singing the same ones that I sang while growing up, but I must admit that the projected words and music on screens are more convenient than having to search for pages in a song book. Neither am I a fan of contemporary gospel music, but it seems now to be a favorite with some gospel singing groups and fans. Most of this has evolved over the past 80 years. 

The methods of donations given to the church are even making a change. When I was young, my Mother would put a coin, usually a nickel or dime, in the hands of each of her six children to place in the collection plate. She wanted us to become accustomed to placing money in the plate as it passed. That does not seem like much money, but after Dad made his contribution it was almost like the poor widow throwing in her two mites.

Then almost all the contributions made to the church were made in cash. Many of the church leaders now prefer the card method because the card owner can designate a desired amount to be automatically deducted for contribution and the donor is not required to be in attendance when the collection plate is passed. This permits one to stay in bed on Sundays, missing religious services, but still remain able to pay for salvation. Checks and other records now serve to help maintain a record of contributions which can be used for income tax purposes. At the end of the year many churches provide their members the record of the contribution that they have made throughout the year. 

In our family, Sunday was always the designated Lord's Day. We did no work on Sundays, nor did we fish or participate in sports, Wednesday nights were also reserved for Bible study. Back then the stores did not open on Sundays and "Blue Laws" were passed barring them from doing so. Many considered it to be a day of rest after a hard week of labor.

Today, anything goes. on Sundays. Stores and restaurants are wide open for business (except a few like Hobby Lobby and Chick-Fil-A), while many like gas stations and Wal-Mart are opened 24- 7. Professional sports and other venues of entertainment now claim a larger audience on Sundays than religious institutions. 

Will some never get over Fool's Hill? In God's book we read that it is the fool that says in his heart there is no god. His creation and presence can be seen in his many blessings and handy works which we daily enjoy. Materialism and an abundance which serves to satisfy our every need, and wishes, cause many to fail to realize the source of all blessings.

Will the stand be made by the faithful to continue to worship and honor him from whom all blessings flow? Eighty years from now I will not be around to know the answer to this question, nor will you, but I pray that the news will be good and that faith in God and his promises will endure the test of time.