“I think you have too many dead things in your museum, Daddy.” – From The Greatest Showman
I went and saw the Greatest Showman with my wife for our 27th anniversary. I don’t mind a good musical, West Side Story, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, etc. and I enjoyed this movie, except for all the singing. Ok, that’s not true but I did enjoy when Hugh Jack man broke out his claws and killed all those guys for mocking his performers. Ok, that’s not true either. That’s what I wanted to happen. It would have broken things up for me.
There was that line in the movie where PT Barnum’s daughter bluntly tells her father, “You museum has too many dead things in it”. His other daughter chimes in with something to the effect of, “Yeah you need more things that are alive.”.
I instantly thought of many churches where was no life. Churches invite people to a weekly service to observe dead, lifeless, rituals and to pay to enjoy them.
Let me say, I’m Pentecostal, and although Pentecostal churches can be a lively bunch, there can still be so many dead things. Dead customs, dead songs, dead preaching, dead worship and the list goes on.
The chorus to the best song in the movie, Come Alive, says
Come alive, come alive
Go and ride your light
Let it burn so bright
To the sky
And it’s open wide
While this whispy sentiment reflects the heart of PT Barnum’s “freaks” who come alive through, as Oprah says “living your truth”, I think there’s a better chorus from another song called Come Alive (Lauren Daigle) , that reflects God’s movement in the church
As we call out to dry bones come alive, come alive
We call out to dead hearts come alive, come alive
Up out of the ashes let us see an army rise
We call out to dry bones, come alive
If the church is to avoid becoming a weekly museum that people attend, we’ll need more than a new attraction, a new freak show to impress the circus goers. The church does need “freaks”, the lonely, the disenfranchised, the tattooed, the unusual, and the broken, not to show off their “freakiness” but because God is present and calling them to rise from the ashes and be transformed. That’s how the church comes alive.
The church stops being a museum filled with old stories when new ones are being written.