Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. Colossians 3:23
"Exciting" says Webster's dictionary, is "to call to activity; to rouse to an emotional response" or "to increase the activity" of something. There are certain words which are made to get down on all fours and walk, or should I say, crawl. They are so overworked by the media that they become trite, superficial, and really without much meaning at all.
Recently I've seen real estate, bathroom fixtures, rock concerts, and - yes, church functions and activities described as exciting. I think what irritated me the most was several churches describing their morning worship hour as exciting. No, it isn't that I think worship should be boring, something to be endured such as a trip to the dentist for a root canal, or a vaccination against a dreaded disease.
I'm wondering, however, if this is really the appropriate word to apply to an encounter with the Almighty. When I was a kid and a Roman candle went astray and caught my dad's storeroom on fire along with starting a medium sized grass fire, that was exciting. When we were awakened at 2:48 AM with an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale, I suppose you could describe it as a few moments of excitement. When a volcano erupts or the pilot announces that he is flying at an altitude of 3,000 meters because the pressurization of the airplane is malfunctioning, I suppose you could describe those moments as exciting.
But must the worship of the Almighty, who deserves our praise and adoration, be painted in the same terms as the latest, most stimulating ride at an amusement park? Does the pastor or worship leader see himself as an exciter who must constantly invoke enough spiritual adrenaline to produce a level of spiritual high or is he one who simply leads the congregation into the presence of the Almighty?
The fact is that much of life is neither exciting nor very stimulating. There's a lot of humdrum associated with getting the kids off to school, opening your business, going over the monthly reports, and covering your bases. A friend says that in life you are either shoveling the pile, underneath the pile, or on top of the pile, and that's not very often. Life is often a routine, even to the point of boredom, but you don't walk away from your responsibilities when they aren't very exciting.
Have we become so entertainment orientated that if the level of excitement we expect doesn't materialize, we either become disappointed with God or the one who should lead us into His presence in worship?
Yes, I acknowledge that getting people excited about a commodity is good for sales. Enthusiasm is the yeast that raises the dough, but the fact is that the church is not in the business of entertainment nor should it try to compete with what I see on the screen or in the theater.
If the unique purpose of the church is to edify and build up the saints, to proclaim the distinctive message of the King and to lead worshipers into a relationship with the Almighty, perhaps we should forget about evoking excitement and focus on authenticity and genuineness.
A closing thought. Excitement should never be confused with enthusiasm. Excitement is for the moment; enthusiasm can go for the long haul. When you really understand who God is and what He will do for you, there comes an enthusiasm and joy which endures long beyond the moment of excitement. Grant us the reality of genuineness and the assurance that God will receive us and welcome us into His presence. That is the stuff that makes life worth living, even when it is not terribly exciting.
Resource reading: Titus 2:1-15