Road trips are great because they give you lots of time for fantastic conversation. One byproduct of such conversation is one of my favorite past times: inventing new words.
This most recent trip, Mallorie saw a Shoney’s along the side of the road (which we haven’t had in Kentucky for years) and asked the obvious question, “Who eats at Shoney’s anymore?!?”
The obvious question’s obvious answer: “Postluders.”
Postluder – (pōst-lood-er) – n. – one who leaves church during the postlude or last hymn to beat the crowd to the Shoney’s for lunch.
Now this is a versatile word, understand. It could be used as a noun as above, or “postlude” could be used as a verb. You could name a Sunday School class the “postluders,” although if they sat together in the service, their postluding would povide great distraction from the end of the service.
Postluders come in various shapes and sizes. There are secret postluders — those who try to feign a bathroom emergency that just had to wait until the sermon was over — as well as those who make it look like they just got an important phone call (but how is this really an improved alibi?). Some simply slip out shamelessly.
We had a lot of fun creating a fully functional range of uses for our new word.
But not two hours later we stopped in a small town outside Waynesville, NC and walked past a church. The music was still playing and, as this destination was a bit nostalgic for my wife and I, I expressed an interest in peeking in for a minute. After a short discussion on decorum and dress (we were not dressed the part as we’d been traveling all day, nor did we want to be the creepers who just “poked their head in” for a minute) we decided not to go in.
But then I got the lucky break my argument was waiting for:
The postluders started exiting! The music was clearly still playing and the congregation still warbling away, but sporadic stragglers started seeping from the back doors of the church.
We have all been these people from time to time. A birthday lunch or a matinee show at the theater can cause us to make as discrete an exit as possible. Perhaps for some there are work conflicts that force a shortened worship time. There will always be exceptions, but this post is about those who seem to repeatedly reinforce the rule.
This post calls into question the very nature of this, especially when it becomes habit. Better yet, although most are not guilty of this on any kind of regular basis, there is a mindset present that is worth unpacking.
Are we too anxious to get out of church?
Do we check our phones for the time when things start to feel like they are dragging?
Is our definition of a “good service” one that ends on time, where the preacher doesn’t “go over”?
Do you plan your post-service escape route to avoid that person you just know is going to chat you up longer than you are willing to stay?
We all have things to do. We all have plans. Sometimes those plans will interfere with our church schedule and that is ok. Life happens.
But at what point does that urge to “get along with our day” interfere with our worship? In that moment, are you serving an amazingly infinite God, or are you worrying about serving your own schedule? Are you bowing to him or expecting the church to bow to you?
Life is busy. We are all guilty of getting impatient in worship, just like we do in every other area of our lives. When we sign up to be a disciple, we sign up for that to take precedence over everything else in our life. Is what we do on Sundays truly worship or simply a cultural check mark?
Just some food for thought.