Every now and then, you experience a moment that reminds you, even if you’re trying to do the right thing, you can do it for the wrong reasons.
A few months back, our church installed a video projection system. It was somewhat controversial, with some people in favor and some opposed. Although I think we can sometimes go overboard in trying to market our worship services, I understand the rational behind this project and I’ve been generally supportive.
I had the idea a few weeks ago to do a video of our church participation in the Relay For Life and show it the next day in morning worship. I checked with the pastor on this, and he was supportive. I had my Flip Video with me for most of the event, shot quite a bit of footage, and then spent several hours yesterday editing, converting the video into several different formats, and uploading it.
This morning, I found the pastor’s son, who runs the video system, and gave him a thumb drive. He called the video up on the screen and it looked fine. I told the pastor and our Relay chair that the video was ready to go.
But then, our Relay chair gave her report this morning, sat down and … we moved on to the next topic. Had they forgotten about the video? I gestured at the pastor, but he didn’t look my direction. I finally got the attention of the pastor’s wife, sitting in the choir, and she mouthed something to me like, “It’s OK.”
Finally, during the offering, they played the video – with no sound, and with our organist playing her normal offertory. I didn’t even look at it. Somehow, this seemed worse than if they’d left it out altogether. I’d edited the video for visuals and sound. I intentionally included a verse of “Amazing Grace” from the luminaria ceremony in order to tie things in to church. I included audio of Cort Huffman talking about the luminarias and how we use them to remember and honor those who have battled cancer. I even had a funny record-scratch sound when I included the little gag visual of John Wesley reacting to the cow patty video.
Without the audio, the video must have been draggy and confusing. I’d rather they have not used it at all, or saved it for next week (even though I won’t be in church for the rest of the month) than run it the way they ran it.
So I sat in church and sulked about it.
Of course, if I’d truly made the video as an act of servanthood, would it have mattered? If I’d truly made the video as an act of Christian service, it could have been ignored completely and I, in theory, shouldn’t have cared. Obviously, the service was running long as it is – there was a good and legitimate reason for them not to use my video at all.
No, the fact of the matter is that I’m a pretty piss-poor Christian servant. I wanted to show off my video, to hear everyone laugh at Vickie and Kaye dancing, to have everyone know what a fine job I’d done. I was offended because of my own vanity, because of several hours of work seemingly thrown away.
I’m no better at servanthood than I am at most other aspects of life.