After Paul and Silas had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three sabbath days argued with them from the scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This is the Messiah, Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you.” Some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. But the Jews became jealous, and with the help of some ruffians in the marketplaces they formed a mob and set the city in an uproar. While they were searching for Paul and Silas to bring them out to the assembly, they attacked Jason’s house. When they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some believers before the city authorities, shouting, “These people who have been turning the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has entertained them as guests. They are all acting contrary to the decrees of the emperor, saying that there is another king named Jesus.” The people and the city officials were disturbed when they heard this.
The best bit about being a worship leader is that you get to speak, on a topic of your own choosing, uninterrupted, for pretty much as long as you want to. And when you love the sound of your own voice as much as I do, that’s grand. I’m not bothered if I spot people checking their watches (though I usually try and finish before they take them off and shake them to see if they’re still working) but, so far, I’ve never been heckled during a sermon. I’m the one asking the questions, not them. I am in charge, not them. All that power. It feels great.
So I’m glad Paul has never come to any service I’ve been leading and tried to argue with me about a point I’ve made, or haven’t made. Interrupting me mid-flow with a point of view that I’d not thought about. Or had thought about but dismissed.
I mean, fair enough, I suppose I might learn something from him, or my understanding and world view might be challenged, maybe even my faith, but it would be disruptive wouldn’t it? And it might lead to things, or me, being changed. And we certainly can’t have that. I mean, what’s the point of church worship if it isn’t to give everyone a break from having to think for an hour or so?
I think, therefore I am. Remind me, Lord, that I am here to be shaped and challenged by your word and your people. Make my ears, eyes, heart and mind open to change so that your kingdom may come, your will be done. Not mine.
Leo Roberts is the Children’s and Youth Development Officer for North Western Synod