Come Into His Presence with…Diet Coke?
As a kid, beverages in worship were an absolute no-no. My parents would have sooner had me stand up on the pew and throw my Mad Libs: Church Edition* square at the pastor’s head than to bring something to drink inside The Lord’s House. No, church-time thirsts were reserved exclusively for trips to the water fountain, and even then I had to prove that I was dehydrating right before their very eyes in order to make it happen.
When I became an adult, I felt like I could get away with a fair amount more, so I started smuggling bottled water into the service. It wasn’t that I needed it, I just felt cool doing it. Even so, I’d find myself ducking down beneath the pew in front of me in order to take a hit off of the sacred Deer Park. (It didn’t help matters that I still attended the church of my youth, and I was pretty sure I could feel my dad’s glare across the auditorium.)
Fast forward to the Summit, where we have a real-live coffee bar, with real-live coffee. My cup of 1/3 cocoa, 1/3 Coffeemate French Vanilla, and 1/3 decaf is a constant presence as I sing, pray, and listen to the message, and I feel like it makes me a nicer worshipper.
But last Thursday…last Thursday something happened that didn’t feel quite right. That was the night of one of our big Believe meetings at our Brier Creek campus, and as part of the night we had refreshments and a full-fledged worship time. I sauntered into the auditorium with a fresh cup topped off with Caffeine Free Diet Coke and began to get my worship on.
…and then it hit me. I have a soft drink. In church.
Oh sure, bottled water is one thing. Coffee is fine, too, perhaps because it’s covered and it makes me think of 1 Corinthians 11. But a Coke? That’s another matter entirely. I felt…naughty. I actually found myself unable to drink more than a few sips, because I was afraid it made me less of a Christian. Sure, it was diet, which meant I was respecting my body as a temple, and it was caffeine free, which would have gone over great in the Mormon church. But it also had ingredients like phosphoric acid and sodium benzoate. That just seems to go against scripture.
I just wonder what’s next? Where will I end up on this downward slide of non-worship-inducing beverages? Will cherry Icees be next? How about a Frappuccino? A Wildberry Lemonade Fruit Smoothie from Sheetz? Or should I roll up in there with a whole tea set and throw a few sugar cubes in to boot?
Yeah…I think I’ll just stick to the coffee.
*One Sunday, three hairy deacons decided they would fight about hot dogs . They hit each other with their bloated by laws until one of them cried “ Ponderosa !”