What Is Worship About
I have been afforded the opportunity this fall to take a course on “Performance Excellence”. I am only just beginning the course but the first session focused in on the questions like, “What are we building? How do we get there? Why do we exist? – just to mention a few. It was a day packed with information and I am still processing it. While this course is geared toward business and creating a viable and sustainable industry there are many things that I think we can learn as we move forward in the church. More to come about that in the months ahead. What I have been thinking about though is what we offer as a church to one another and the community, more specifically, what is our worship experience about?
What Is Worship About
Chris and I spend a lot of time trying to create a worship experience that touches people. Quite frequently I begin the service with the words
“may we know a moment of insight, a moment of wonder, a moment of comfort, a moment of joy, a moment of amazing grace.”
I learned a long time ago that not everything in a service is going to speak to everyone but I have hoped that each person might find something that speaks to them. With that in mind I returned to the question “So, what is worship about?”
Of course there are many answers to that question for me. It is about…
- hearing the ancient story and reflecting on what words of wisdom there might be for the living of these days
- raising my voice in praise and thanksgiving
- joining my energy with the energy of others and that of the universe to affect light and life and love
- to receive a word of comfort
- to be challenged to live out the gospel
These are the ones that come immediately to mind.
I began to think about a number of different services that I have had the opportunity to participate in and my mind turned to a particular service that I attended while on vacation. The liturgy did not speak to me; the hymns were ones that I have not enjoyed in a long time; and the theology was way too conservative. Then we were invited to come to the rail to receive communion. As I knelt, all the other things seemed insignificant and an overwhelming sense of grace permeated my being.
When I was growing up it was the custom in our church to go forward to the rail to receive communion. Until the day I left home, every time we celebrated the sacrament, I would go to the rail with my mother and we would kneel together. On this day, my mother was not beside me but I went to the rail with the father of my best childhood friend. Our families have been connected my whole life. With him kneeling beside me I was overtaken with a sense of peace and love and my soul sang. I stood to leave the rail and I knew that I had been blessed with the presence of the sacred.
What Worship IS
What was highlighted for me that day is that
worship is not about the building,
it is not about the liturgy;
it is not even about the hymns we sing or how we sing them.
it is about the people with whom we share the journey and the presence of Christ revealed through them.
It is about the grace given in the mystery and the wonder of Divine presence even in the midst of our imperfections.
May it be so
© 2019 Rev. Valerie Peyton Kingsbury. All rights reserved.