Why do we worship? May 2019

Why Do We Worship?
Pastor’s Ponderings – May 2019
Worship is not something we instinctively know how to do, but something we must learn every generation. While all generations have differences of experience and perspective, there is continuity in what we crave. We all crave love, acceptance and belonging. Worship provides a space to learn that we are loved, accepted and that we belong to the maker of the universe.
Richard Foster wrote, “Worship is our response to the overtures of love from the heart of the Father. It is kindled within us only when the Spirit of God touches our human spirit.” Many people believe that God is love. Worship is the place where we interact with our loving God, along with other people who are doing the same. Together we ask questions and wonder what it all means.
Worship is not a show we subscribe to on YouTube or turn on through Netflix. Although there is faith- based programing that we can learn about faith from, there is no substitute for participatory faith. In fact, Jesus became human, to come to our world, to show us in person what it means to live a life faithfully. He traveled around his region offering lessons, and health care and prescribing community collaboration. Jesus didn’t phone in a relationship with us or video tape a message for us, but came to us and offered us a chance to interact with him.
Worship is a gathering of people, looking in the same direction, to give thanks to God and grow in understanding. When you come on Sunday morning, in order to get the most out of your worship time, it is valuable to get your heart in the right place. The Jewish people believe Sabbath begins at sundown the evening before. Consider a special prayer Saturday evening asking God to open your heart, and set aside your troubles from the week before. Come on Sunday morning with a fresh spirit, free from distraction (as often as you can).
Arrive at church in time to get the seat you are comfortable in, and say hello to the people you call “friend.” Look for new people or visitors, people who look confused or alone and offer a greeting or to show them where the bathrooms or other places on campus are. Intentionally quiet your spirit and remember the sanctuary is more than a big room, it is a sacred space where we look to see God. The sanctuary is meant to be a holy place. It is a place consecrated for the purpose of meeting and celebrating faith and God. Consider the volume of your voice, the conversations you carry on, how you engage or distract others from centering themselves on God and worship.
Worship is NOT something someone else can do for us, but something we must choose for ourselves. But we don’t worship alone and so we have to trust one another to help us worship in a holy and reverent way. And being holy and reverent doesn’t mean we can’t have fun, but it does mean we have a common goal. Our goal is to meet God and be filled up for the week ahead, giving thanks for all that we have that comes from grace.
Thanks be to God!
Rev. Dr. Leigh Ann Shaw

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