I Was Glad…
I Was Glad…
I have been thinking a lot about worship lately. I am teaching the online class entitled The Theology and Practice of Worship through ABCRM. I must admit that I do not think about worship as much now as I did when I was serving as a pastor.
Preparing for this class has reminded me how much I enjoy thoughtfully planning a worship service for a congregation. I am reminded that it does not happen and that it is much more than just the sermon. (My role in worship at this time in my ministry is primarily preaching.)
Sometimes I worship in churches both large and small that seem to be going through the motions. I know that I have developed habits of not being mindful of what worship is. It snuck up on me. When pastoring, I thought about how to engage people: from lay leaders, acolytes, kids, etc. I thought about how we could bring freshness to celebrating the Lord’s Supper. I was constantly on the lookout for a new song or chorus that was both singable and that fit the indigenous worship of my people. I cared about what hymns we sang and where we sang them in the service. I tried to find ways to make sure that prayer request time didn’t become a baptized gossip session (some of you know what I mean).
Preparing for this class has made me mindful about worship again. I think about song selections. I think about whether elements in the worship service fit together or just feel like they are thrown in because the church has always done it.
I am reminded and mindful that the basic purpose of worship is to help the people, myself included, encounter the Divine, the living God. Leonard Sweet wrote, “If people leave church and haven’t encountered God, what have we accomplished?”
This Sunday, in the midst of your Sunday ritual, I pray that God will bring you to a place of mindfulness. I pray that God will so surprise you, that you have to go over and see the strange thing called worship (Exodus 3:3-5).
Prayer: Lord, I pray that this Sunday we will take off our shoes because we are standing on holy ground before You the Almighty and Loving God. Amen.
Reverend Mike Oldham
Ministry & Missions Coach