09 December 2010
Finding God in the Food Court
The Sacred and The Profane
One of the viral hits of the holiday season is this YouTube video of a flash mob singing the Hallelujah Chorus in an Ontario mall food court. It’s fun, beautiful, and has moved many to tears. I love it because it breaks down our notions the sacred and the profane - and the false divisions we erect between them.
The whole scene takes place in a mall food court: a fast food carousel in the heart of the temple of consumerism. This is not a place we would expect beauty or culture. A food court is all about efficiency - get your food quickly, eat just as quickly, and get on with your shopping. It is certainly not a place we expect to encounter the sacred. (By the way, I eat at the food court once a week with my kids, so I speak from experience.)
And yet, thanks to this flash mob, those unsuspecting people in the food court (and we through YouTube) encounter the sacred in the midst of the profane. I just loved seeing all those fast food signs in the background as the camera panned around the amateur chorus.
So often, we go about our lives never expecting to encounter God because we’re not in the right place. In fact, every place is the right place. There is no wrong place. God is everywhere, if only we would listen and look.
This is one of the reasons Redeemer, inspired by House for All Sinners and Saints, is hosting a night of Beer and Hymns. The name alone challenges our preconceived notions of where we can find and worship God. Indeed, worship can happen just as easily in a pub - perhaps even more easily for some - as in a church sanctuary.
Beer and Hymns, like the Flash Mob Chorus take us from thinking of the sacred versus the profane, to finding the sacred in the profane, to not making that distinction at all. And that is the beginning of "finding God in all things and all things in God."