What surprised me in the beginning was the demographics of the two services. The early service, with the loud, boisterous music, had as many senior citizen attendees as it had younger folks. And conversely, there were as many younger couples, families with children, in the second service as in the first. Go figure. So I'm thinking that the music is not the deciding factor: I think it's the time. Most of those who go to the early service say they like being out earlier so they have more of their Sunday left for other activities. And my personal opinion is that the majority of those who attend the second service do so because that's the way they've always done it.
So on to where I was originally headed: what facilitates unity? The most vocalized objection to the early srvice from the second service crowd is that with two services we no longer have unity. Hmmmm... I've been there for 19 years. The early service began two and a half years ago. I don't recall there ever being true unity in this church. Well, unity among individual cliques, but not as a whole. Could it be that the real concern is that the objectors don't like not being able to see who's there and who's not? Oops, did I say that out loud?
And the unity thing: being in the same room at the same time does not guarantee unity. As the Queen of Analogies, I look at it this way: a married couple, with one being on active military duty overseas: the husband and wife are thousands of miles apart, yet can still be united in heart, mind and spirit. And how many couples do you know who live in the same house and have absolutely no sense or spirit of unity? I rest my case!
There has been much buzz among the second service crowd in recent months about doing away with the early service and going back to one service - in the interest of unity, of course. I don't believe unity will automatically spring forth - see previous paragraph. And I don't think that's the real issue.
I think it all comes down to personal preferences. Do I have my own preferences? Most definitely. Do I try to force them on others? Of course I do, sometimes. I am human after all, although some might argue that one. But I try to be open-minded about and tolerant of others' ideas of what, how and why. And in this particular situation, I believe all our people, early service and late service alike, need to put aside our personal preferences. Instead of debating "what we need to do", we should be praying and waiting on God to show us what He wants us to do.
Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Psalm 127.1
So that's my soapbox sermon for today.