What Saturday Night Live Can Teach Us About Church

religion, spirituality, writing

I just watched the SNL season finale (Mick Jagger/Arcade Fire/Foo Fighters/Jeff Beck/Jon Hamm/Steve Martin/Lazy Sunday 2/etc) on DVR.  It was celebratory: of rock n roll, of Mick, of Andy Samberg/Lonely Island, and, in a very touching close, of Kristen Wiig.

Trade blogs talk about SNL a lot, and specifically about how to make it better.  I’ll make a suggestion:  have awesome, big time shows every week.  Keep Jon Hamm coming back as a reoccurring surprise guest.  Mash up the musical acts.  If the show is always big, it doesn’t always have to be as funny as we all remember it being back in the [insert the decade of your adolescence here].  If you’re going to do it every week anyway, why not do it big? The thing that struck me about the show, apart from the star power, was that it was very intentionally planned to be a certain kind of show.  It was designed to be memorable. It was designed.

That got me thinking about church.  We go big on Easter, Christmas, maybe Pentecost.  And by big I don’t mean one half of the Glimmer Twins, a Yardbird and the drummer from Nirvana.  By big I mean intentional.  By big I mean well-thought out, done with enough lead time for artistic expression, rich liturgical experience, contemplative components, everything.

Christians do church every week.  I dare say the church that’s as intentional as possible as often as possible is rare.

Why do we do church every week?  Sure, there’s the Sabbath commandment, but we often forget that the Christian Sabbath is a weekly celebration of the resurrection of God the Son.  There’s a feast day every week if we’d have it.  A festival, a celebration.  If we’d have it.

8 thoughts on “What Saturday Night Live Can Teach Us About Church

  1. Doesn’t this describe the 1010 service?
    — of course with the exception of the “feast day” every week since it’s Presbyterian Church : )


  2. Agree with “big” as your using it here. Problem is most churches think that going big is just like SNL – big acts, big entertainment. Christian worship should go big with the things it does well, the things you list – Contemplation, prayer, Word, preaching, Eucharist. Couldn’t agree more on that end of things.


  3. Definitely agree with you on both the church and SNL fronts. I’ve always worked within the music ministry of church, and there can sometimes be a “wait and see on Sunday” mentality that would never stand for holiday/special services. Always thought that if we could plan and execute well on those Sundays, we should be able to do it every Sunday. Isn’t the God we worship on Easter/Christmas the same as the God we worship today (and everyday, for that matter)? As far as SNL is concerned, I believe the reason the Samberg/Lonely Island shorts are so successful is because they are well thought out. If the rest of the show could be as planned, it would be a better show. Happy Sunday, friend!


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