Thursday, June 17, 2010

Worshipping in the Mall

Where is the proper place of worship?

This is the question that my friend ask me. But that got me to thinking, "should there be an exact location for worship?" I know that the OT tells us that people go to the "House of God" to worship because that is where God lives. But after the word was made flesh, we were taught that an all-powerful God can be anywhere. Of course, there are some things to be considered in the worship place but not necessarily an exact location. This is precisely why we now see worship services taking place in malls.

My friend who is a priest told me that after the Vatican II, the Roman Catholic church have been discovering innovative ways to reach out to the people. He said, statistics show that most people and families go to the mall on weekends, especially on Sundays. Its alright if people go to mass first before going to the mall, but that is not the case. The numbers of people attending church is declining because they are all in the mall. So the solution: bring the worship service to where the people are. That sounds familiar.

In the 18th century, a preacher named John Wesley was known for bringing the word of God to where the people are. He preached in the marketplace, in the coal mines and on top of tombstones just so he can bring the good news of salvation to the people. Thus, we can say that this evangelistic method is a Methodist legacy. But I am not confident enough to say that the Methodist are carrying on this tradition. I am not saying that Methodist or any other denomination should also put another place of worship in the mall opposite the place where the Catholics are worshiping. That will just give a whole new meaning to the mall as the "one stop shop."

I looked at my friend who asked me "where is the right place of worship?" I told him that was a tricky question. But offered a thought, "look into you heart first and know if you are indeed worshiping God."