WHEN I WORSHIP

WHEN I WORSHIP…

It’s not often… those occasions when I sit with the congregation and find myself in worship…with the altar in front of me and me not behind it… but when I do, I try to be the active participant at worship and let loose of being the worship leader…it’s not easy after all these years but now having 9 Sundays to sit and take part…listen to the preaching, engage my heart and mind in the prayers and experience the life of a “newcomer” in a church…these are some of my reflections…and will most likely be perceived even more differently as the weeks progress…

Perhaps it’s best for me to comment what it is like for me to be the worship leader first…then you may read my comments with a clearer picture of why I cherish these 9 Sundays to experience Sunday morning being one of the last persons to walk into God’s house…

To be the worship leader finds me preparing from week to week and throughout the week… and I take into consideration…some personal assumptions…

  1. I’m captive to God’s Word and the commandment that says… “Remember the Sabbath day…”  and a taste of holiness is experienced there…
  2. For me, Jesus is the model of the Godly life and it was his habit to be at worship weekly…See the opening chapters of St. Luke’s gospel… I want to model that…
  3. My life with God is not a solo experience and so I value ‘community’…Hebrews 10:25 reminds us… Let us not give up meeting together, as some are already in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another…”
  4.  There are many people who say they “believe in God”… but when I gather with others in God’s house…then others know that I do and I know that they do!

I also believe that people come to worship out habit, joy, duty, invitation, rhythm, as well as need to be touched by the ‘mystery of God’ and let others know… “I believe!”  And so as one has a key role in worship I also consider…

  •  The season of the Church year;
  • What is happening in the world and in our Church (ELCA) and synod;
  • The spirit and present heartbeat of New Life;
  • The needs of people…joys, sorrows, issues, celebrations, etc;
  • Who shows up…long-time members, new members, visitors, family guests, etc…trusting that their presence there is both a sign of their faith and their desire to be touched by God’s grace and be offered a chance to participate in God’s kingdom and leave with a sense of hope, love and purpose…it is more that just taking part in ritual..it is a feeding and strenghtening for life…

All of these things contribute to the music, the prayers, the preaching and the sending.

Our form of worship is ancient.  This is fed by the contemporary… using language. story and songs and prayers that address our desire to be faithful followers of Christ.  The goal is God’s future…the Kingdom of God we see coming to us…and that’s why we end each service with the words (or ones similar) … “Go in peace.  Serve the Lord.”  And we are thankful to do just that.  And this is also why our re-gathering the following Sunday begins with the Corporate Confession and Absolution as we have failed to live in God’s peace and serve him in faithful ways… and we don’t just say it out loud to God…we admit this to ourselves and in front of each other…

And then the songs, the Word, the preaching, the prayers, the eating and drinking are all shared to offer grace, peace, healing, instruction to our collective fellowship with each other and ultimately into the world… that’s why live with a Great Commandment… “to love God with all our heart, mind and strength as well as our neighbor’ and live deeply in the Great Commission…to “go, tell, preach, teach and baptize and make disciples of all nations…”

I’ll post some thoughts on my two Sunday morning experiences next…one in an ELCA congregation in Corpus Christi and the second in an Assembly of God congregation in our ministry area… But, first I welcome some thoughts from you for others to read and reflect upon as well…   How do you respond to the phrase “When I worship….”   What do you say?                              

                                                                                                                                        Brian

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About briangigee

Loves life; lives love! Bud and Doris' eldest son. Descendant of 'refiners' and 'reformers.' Husband to Margo. Father of 5. Grandfather to 2. Brother, uncle, friend and colleague. Working parish pastor. Became a naturalized Texan in February 2013.
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