The Romanesque bread and circuses gala shown in the picture is the Fourth of July celebration at First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale. One wishes two things: first, that a church of our Lord was not used to celebrate a worldly power, the United States. Second, that if it were done, it wasn’t done in a sanctuary meant for worship. But, that’s just my take on this.
Seems this form of idolatry isn’t limited to the Fourth of July at this particular church. Consider this snippy snippet from today’s WaPo:
The $1.3 million Christmas pageant at the First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale is featuring professional pyrotechnics, 105 automated lights and 250 conventional lights, a cast of 600, women dressed as angels who “fly” to herald Jesus’s birth, simulated snow and a kick line of dancers.It’s about “the true meaning of Christmas,” says Senior Pastor Larry Thompson.
Hmm. The “true meaning of Christmas” is spending over a million dollars on a spectacle? This is doubly offensive. First, Advent should be a time of quiet anticipation and of soul-searching and cleansing; waiting for our Savior’s birth, knowing that he’s due to arrive, not in a gaudy light show with angels who fly, but to die on our behalf.
Second, could not those monies have been used for mission work? Of course they could, and should. We should always remember this about Christmas: the wood of His cross may be found in His cradle. Celebrate the Babe on His birth; do so as the three wise men did, bearing gifts with humility and grace. Not in a gaudy pageant.