Recently a friend of mine sent me to a video of a "Clown Eucharist" held at Trinity Church in New York City. That's right... you read it correctly... a Clown Eucharist! It is one of those videos that you have to see to believe! If you ever needed proof of the pathetic state of Christianity in the West and a demonstration of why proponents of Islam believe that Christianity is bankrupt; look no further, this is it. Although there are many things that could be said about this sad performance in this post I want to focus on just one element.
At the very beginning of the "service" we are told that "mime and sign rather than speech are going to be used because this allows us to visually participate in worship in a profound and intentional way that does not rely on spoken language". Unfortunately, this is not that unusual. Today there is a growing aversion to words in many difference circles. This in spite of the fact that the climax of redemptive history involves the very word of God himself becoming flesh and revealing the Father to us by speaking to us in human language. His incarnation is then joined to the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the apostles to that they are able to understand and communicate the truth of God to us, and this is tied to the giving of the Spirit to the New Covenant community so that the law of God is written on our hearts.
Christianity without words is impossible. It is theologically absurd because the biblical God is a talking God who reveals himself by means of words. The gospel is not a mime or a sign! It is a declaration of the good news of God. It tells us who he is and who we are and our great need of a Savior. God has not left us to wander in the dark. Nor has he merely acted without explanation. He has spoken and he has given us the task of going into all the world and telling what he has done. He tells us to give attention to the reading of Scripture, to teach others to observe everything that he has commanded us and to preach the word in season and out of season. We must not miss the fact that according to the apostle Paul faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God!
If the church has lost its voice, it is because it has wandered from the truth as it is in Christ. We are not called to play games and leave people to fill in the blanks for themselves. We are called to rightly divide the word of truth and to pass on to others what has been entrusted to us at great cost. Revival will never come as a result of mime. But it will be found where and when the Holy Spirit blesses his own word so that it comes home with power to the human heart as it did on the Day of Pentecost which ushered in the New Covenant era. Different forms of artistic expression may be used to communicate the gospel message at some level, but none come close to the foolishness of the message preached by the heralds of God. May God have mercy on us so that "clown eucharists" do not become the next fad of the church. Let us pray that he will not send us the worst kind of famine: a famine of hearing the words of the Lord (Amos 8:11).