"The Meat Is in the Text"
October 18, 2017
John 12:20-22 - Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus." Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.
Chef Marco Canora is the head-honcho of the award-winning Hearth Restaurant in New York City.
Because the Hearth is an upscale place in a highly competitive environment, its staff is always looking for ways to improve and make the eatery stand out above the rest. Recently, Chef Marco has gone on record saying, "We want people to have an experience that is calm."
That's a beautiful idea. When I spoke to some of my friends and asked them, "What would you do to create a restaurant which is gushing over with "calm"?, they said things like "Paint the place in blues, grays, lavenders, because those are the colors which are supposed to be soothing to the nerves." Another suggested that the floors be carpeted and the ceiling be made with a cork-type product to soak up sound. One mother of four was semi-serious when she said, "Ban all children under the age of 21, and make sure you check birth certificates."
Chef Marco has come up with a different way of creating calm.
He and his team have placed small, antique boxes on the tables. When someone opens their particular box, they find a message which invites diners to "unplug" and "connect with your fellow diners." It's a beautiful way of asking people, for an hour or two, to put away their cell phones and offer undivided attention to the person they are with.
Chef Marco reports that 60 percent of his patrons have done as suggested. There were no figures available on how many folks left their phones in the little box at the end of the meal.
I appreciate and applaud the chef for an idea that is simple and can make a great difference.
And I wondered what could a church do to make its worship such that when people left they would feel that they had spent some wonderful time with the Lord?
It wasn't an easy question. There are experts who tell you what to do to make your church inviting (good parking lots and clean women's restrooms are usually on those lists). There are other investigators who can explain how to make the church appear to be more friendly. I have even read an expert whose specialty was "how to shut the doors of a church." I am sure if this was a blog rather than devotion many of you might have an opinion on what it would take to spend great time with God.
Me, after attending a cross-section of churches throughout North America and beyond, I found one thing which stood out over all the rest. That one thing was the sermon showed the people their Savior: Jesus' words, Jesus' actions, Jesus' sacrifice, Jesus' comfort, strength, help, assistance, forgiveness. Those were the things people heard, and those were the things which kept them coming back. They saw the Savior.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may our worship show to all the world our Savior and the wonders of His love and sacrifice. In His Name. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by Arden Dier for Newser on October 3, 2017. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written: click here.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries