At noon and 6pm, music pours forth from my church. Bells, or electric facsimiles of them, send out five minutes of tunes into the neighborhood around us. In a closet behind the sanctuary, a cassette is timed to play through outdoor speakers.
It sounds really nice. We have a few different tapes we can play, even a tape of Christmas tunes to play in December. I’ve threatened to look online for one that plays Beatles tunes.
Perched atop our building is an elaborate speaker, pointing in all four directions. When this sound cranks up, people go into their basements. I suppose the sound is grating, but it could save your life.
It seems to go off at least once every spring when dangerous clouds are swirling overhead. When I hear it, I feel an instant pang in my gut, a warning that all is not well.
What sort of vibe is your church putting out?
Is your church a gentle lullaby, coaxing people in, or is it a brash trumpet, alerting all to imminent danger? Does your church present itself as a sacntuary of rest and comfort, or as a watchtower blowing the whistle on the threats we face?
Which is the right one to be?
A prophetic, siren blaring church is uniquely suited for fighting injustice, for helping the marginalized. Members of a Siren church write letters and go on marches. They take risks and carry the banner of Jesus Christ into a broken world.
A song church that sends music out to all who can hear is sending an invitation of peace, gentleness, maybe healing. Inside the walls of this church is a place of comfort, of creativity, of togetherness. Members of a Song church invite others to praise God and acknowledge each other as made in the image of God.
There are, of course, many other types of churches, but still I wonder…which of these two would you be drawn to? Is God’s Kingdom blessed by both?
In the spring, on the first Monday of the month, something interesting happens. The siren fires up for its monthly test at the same time that the bells begin to play.
Let me tell you, for a couple minutes there at noon, it’s quite a racket.
But to the discerning ear…
it sounds like harmony.
Have a great week,
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