April 19, 2014
How Sherlock Holmes Ruined Good Friday
I spent the evening finishing season 1 of BBC's Sherlock. It is not atypical for my wife and I to spend our Friday nights perusing Netflix. In fact we usually end our work week in this way (we had a nasty obsession with White Collar for awhile). Although I'm fascinated by the introduction of Moriarti, Sherlock's arch nemesis, I had a nagging feeling that I should have been doing something else this evening. This, of course, is because I should have. It is after all, Good Friday.
It's not as though we chose Sherlock over Jesus; our church--The Harbor--did not have a Good Friday service simply because its "sanctuary" is a local elementary school gym, and it is quite difficult for us to use the space at any time other than Sunday morning. So, as a result, I spent the better part of the evening watching Brits fight crime (and trying to understand what they are saying. Sarah makes fun of me because, for some reason, I have a hard time understanding "British.").
Truthfully, I don't blame Sherlock Holmes or the BBC for this. They are doing good work. But as I watched the program, I got to thinking...and Google searching...
You might be asking the question, "Why didn't you go to another church?" Fair question. We actually tried. We spent some time Googling a few other churches in the area and were surprised to find that very few churches similar in tradition to our church were offering a Good Friday service. Some were in the same boat as The Harbor in that they rent a space and probably couldn't get access to the building on a Friday night. Others simply appeared not to offer a service. However, every single one of these churches offered some sort of massive Easter celebration. This makes good sense. Of course we should celebrate the risen Lord.
But I also wondered if subtle shifts in the way we "do" church (e.g., having church in a middle school gym) is informing our theology more than we might expect. I think we've gotten really good at celebrating the resurrection--again, we should celebrate it---but on the night that the most important person in the history of the world was crucified, I watched Sherlock. Bbecause after all, it felt like a typical Friday night.
I love my church, and I love the fact that my church is in a gym--I wouldn't trade it for the world. But I find it fascinating how trends within the global church (e.g. church planting) may be having certain implications on how the church worships. Churches carrying the label "high church" most certainly had a service this evening, but for whatever reason, many (not all) of the "newer" churches in the area are turning their attention to Sunday morning. To be clear, I do not think this is a bad thing. It's just an interesting thing.
So, admittedly, Sherlock Holmes did not ruin Good Friday for me. Actually, in truth, he got me thinking. He has a tendency to do that.