This weekend Disney’s new movie “Big Hero 6” opens in theaters and the odds are good that I will be heading out to see it with millions of others. It always impresses me the huge numbers of people who will pay upwards of $11 each to stand in long lines and cram into a full theater just so they can see a movie on opening weekend. I just have to say, that is NOT my happy place. I like seeing movies in sparsely filled theaters with my choice of seats. I like walking up to the ticket booth and then walking right into the theater. I like it when my coat gets its own seat.
You should know by this point that I am looking forward to the actual movie. It looks engaging and funny. I am already halfway in love with Baymax and I haven’t even seen the movie. More than that, I know basically what to expect going in. There will be laughter. There will be excitement. There may possibly be tears. Good will triumph over evil and in 2 hours or less we will walk out of the theater feeling better than we went in. All done. Yay! What’s not to love?
Seeing this movie is not the only thing I will be doing this weekend. I will also be leading the worship service here in my local church. There will be a few key differences. There will not be a line at the door when I unlock the church this Sunday. No one has to pay $11 to come hear me preach, even though service is always in 3D. The pews will not have every seat filled to capacity. There will not be popcorn, but there will be cookies and they are free. Still, fewer people will be in my service than will be in Sunday’s first showing of Big Hero 6.
There is one more key difference between my sermon for this Sunday and the “Big Hero 6” movie. At the end of the service people will not leave feeling like they are done. They will not feel like they have accomplished something, they will feel challenged to take on something. People will not sit and receive a feel good message that wraps up with a neat bow at the end. They will hear questions and be encouraged to ask their own. At least this is true if I have done my job properly.
Maybe that’s why my seats aren’t packed and I don’t have a line out the door. People do not want to be made uncomfortable. Maybe more people would come to church if it was easier; if they knew that when they walked out the door nothing would be required of them. That might be true, but it would minimize the message that we have. We must not be tempted to make the Gospel easier just to get people in the door. It is for those who want more than an easy answer and a simple ending. It is for those who want to participate in the story, make a difference, and have an ongoing experience of good working in the world every day.
“Sometimes the right path is not the easiest one.” – Grandmother Willow, Pocahontas