Worship is under scrutiny these days. ‘Pipe down the passion’ is the name of today’s game. It’s ok to lift your hands, close your eyes, and sing prom songs to Jesus; but it’s not in vogue to be expressive. Worship and praise are all about passionate expression. The bible describes worship with about every human action ever conjured up; running, dancing, singing, clapping, leaping, bowing, chewing on sheetrock, etc.
Worshippers are considered fanatics, crazies, and the uneducated. Some pastors are embarrassed of the saints who act up during service. Now for a disclaimer- I think there should be order in church. If somebody is showing out for sake of show, they need further discipleship. Generally it never happens. In my few years of preaching I have never dealt with it. However, there is another group of people I have dealt with – carnal consumers.
Eli had aged quite a bit. He tended the tabernacle for many years and was accustomed to the ritualistic offerings repeated yearly. He wasn’t ready for Hannah. Hannah showed up to church pushed by purpose. Childless, she was desperate for divine intervention. The depths of her soul were reaching for the depths of God’s Spirit. With unadulterated fervor, she cried out to the God of the heavens. Oblivious to protocol, her expression of worship was raw and radical.
Eli thought she was drunk. That is quite a commentary on Eli’s present perception of worship. Eli left his seat (seat?) and proceeded to wear the badge of the passion police. Public displays of heavenly affection aren’t allowed in Eli’s church. She might upset the apple cart of apathy and apostasy.
Meanwhile back at the ranch, Eli’s boys are as carnal as church kids could possibly be. They are getting drunk in church, stealing sacrifices belonging to God, and scoping out every woman stepping through the doors. In the face of God and His people they are consuming and never contributing. They come to church to hook up. They take advantage of other believers, and abhor sacrifices to God.
Who are the real crazies in church? Is it the individual that inundates God with uninhibited praise? Or the carnal consumers that think of church as a playground to entertain their immaturity?
Eli is calling out the wrong person. The real crazy people are those who are intoxicated with their own selfish desires. They stagger from service to service stealing the glory which rightly belongs to God. Their motivation is propelled by personal pleasure. They don’t offer anything to God, but they do take plenty from the church.
If you ask me, it’s time for Eli to get off of his seat and deal with the real problem. Call out the carnal saints. Demand accountability from those born right but living wrong. Deal with the deadly cancer of Christians in name only. Reprimand the boys just after church girls. Handle the hindrance of gossips and talebearers. These are the bloody issues in church which flow and are never healed. These are the people who offer dead praise and worship to a living God.
They are the REAL crazy ones.