There’s a meme that resurfaces every year right around Super Bowl season.
It says, “You should be as excited about church as you are about the Super Bowl. So when your pastor makes a good point this Sunday, pour Gatorade over his head.”
Without fail, this meme peppers my social media feeds as people tag myself and my pastoral brothers and sisters to share the joke. I have a deep and abiding hatred for memes, but I must admit I do enjoy this one. Memes are generally a terrible source from which to discern truth or develop understanding. But in this particular case, I would love for my people to apply it in principle, if not in practice.
There is a time and a place for everything, and given the abundant menagerie of wires and cables, a church chancel/stage is probably not the safest place to unleash an unmitigated deluge of liquid. Further, the appropriateness of said action within a church sanctuary might reasonably be called into question for a host of valid reasons, perhaps a few that are more personal than spiritual.
It is clear that the literal, practical application of a celebratory Gatorade bath is questionable, at best, for most worship services. But there is a principle to be gleaned from this comically outlandish meme.
It is often said that Sunday at 10 a.m. is the most segregated hour in America. It is also for many of our churches one of the most listless hours. We could do with more excitement and interaction in a great many of our churches. I, for one, would welcome a baptism by Gatorade if it was truly holy spirit inspired and was indicative of the energy and impact of the moment.
What most pastors are looking for on any given Sunday is not adulation or admiration for words well-spoken or songs well-sung. We are looking for indications and evidence of the word of God being understood and engaged, of hearts being healed and made whole by the power and presence of almighty God and of people excited to seek and serve Jesus in the days ahead.
I actually think the meme gets it backwards. Gatorade baths come at the end of the game when the outcome has already been decided. What the church does on any given Sunday is more like the locker room speech before the game begins.
We assemble together to be reminded of the game plan provided in God’s word. We assemble together to be warned of the challenges of the competition that lies ahead. We assemble together to be encouraged to meet the demands of days ahead.
Our Sunday services should be life-giving experiences that energize and awaken us to the calling God has placed upon our lives by reminding us that victory is already ours by grace through faith in Jesus.
Psalm 122:1 tells us we should be excited to join together to worship the Lord. Psalm 149 calls the people of God to assemble to praise the Lord with energy and passion. Isaiah 55 encourages us to go out with joy and peace, with faith and full confidence that what we’ve heard from the word of the Lord will come about through his power.
I won’t lie. Getting a Gatorade bath for an epic sermon would be quite the amazing experience. But what’s done on Sunday morning is about more than a sermon that is preached. It’s about more than songs that are sung. It’s about more than raised hands and expressions of momentary excitement.
Ultimately, our excitement and passion must always be rooted in the work and person of Jesus Christ, the unchanging truth of his word and the abiding presence of his holy spirit in our lives. That is something that should excite us. That is something worth celebrating.
The Rev. Jeremy Myers is the lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Seymour. Read his blog at jeremysmyers.com. Send comments to [email protected]