MATERIALITY

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By Leke Alder

It’s amazing what a piece of plague can accomplish. We’ve been shuttered at home now for months, unable to fulfill our Sunday, Sunday ablution, unable to go to church. Many churches moved online. They soon progressed to hybridized worship that is partly live and partly virtual. The choir sang in church conscious of social distancing, we joined from home bereft of the environmental cover of the voices of the choir. Now we get a sense of what God endures when we do praise worship. We can hear ourselves.

We’ve now realized we really don’t need a thousand-man choir to do praise worship. Not that it’s bad but the minimal size of the choir is no less effective. And we don’t really have to dress the way we do to go to church. We do church at home in pajamas, no makeup, no mascaras, no hats, no frills, no golden wristwatches, no jiggling of premium car keys. We’re down to the most essential element of faith – our heart. In other words we’re back to what I call materiality. It’s a 21st century dramatization of worshipping God in the beauty of holiness.

I believe materiality is something God wants us to embrace. No affectations, no pretentions, no impressions. Just come as you are. Come as yourself, no fig leaves.

But materiality also means going back to the fundamentals of faith. There are things that haven’t been taught in church in a long time. There are roles which have been dumped on the pastor which should have been exercised by us – the laying of hands on the sick, acting on the word of faith, administration of the Holy Spirit, casting out of demons. These are lay ministries. We’ve been practicing agency Christianity. The pastor has been our agent.

Materiality also means we get rid of our psychedelic doctrines. There are doctrines and practices that cannot be situated in scriptures. They’re our formulations.

Because of our vulnerability at this time we’ve all had to face God in raw form, baring our hearts to him. And we’re registering seismically in heaven. In a manner of speaking we’re in the era of minimalist architecture of faith. We’ve moved from our maximalism.

What a refreshing thing sincerity and simplicity of faith is.

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