I think the most powerful performances of any kind are by those with battle scars of some kind. The injured athlete, the wounded soldier, the truly tortured artist. The talented folks who haven’t had to bleed for something important behind the scenes are noticeably arrogant. It’s true in churches too.
I’m still thinking about the circus, and the comparisons that were made instantly in my head with production value in church services. The thing is, the only noticeable scars behind the circus performance were hours of hard work and practice. A great thing in it’s own right, but you won’t find me dying for it. If those in Cirque du Soleil show weakness, they lose credibility. In church, in a lot of ways it’s those who don’t show weakness that lose credibility. Those without battle scars aren’t proven, and are hard to trust. Rightfully so.
Part of the Christian identity is that our weaknesses show God’s strength, our great sins and failures expose the depths of a great war being fought on our behalf to defeat our sin, the Gospel. Our corporate gatherings are important in order to highlight that, but often it gets missed, and a lot of times we highlight talent. We make idols of gifts we have in place of the God who gave them to us. We focus on the entertainment value of our gifts, and not their value to the mission of God, to make disciples and plant churches.
All indications from Scripture are that when Jesus returns, it’s going to be quite a show. He’ll have center stage, and everything he does will be perfect. He’ll be finishing the war. The war that will end all wars. He’ll have something else too, scars on his hands, his feet, and his side.
Jesus leads with his battle scars exposed, are we?