There is a flow to our worship life . . . a mood, if you will. Not every worship experience is supposed to be the same as the one before or the one to come. And so, there are seasons for our worshipping.
There is a flow to our worship life, and this, of course, derives from the fact that there is a flow to our lives and hence to our faith. While we may strive for some consistency, the reality is that we find ourselves up or down at any given moment which means the particular word that we most need may differ in any given moment: encouragement or caution . . . forgiveness or a calling to account . . . a plea for understanding or a push toward conviction.
There is a flow to our worship life, which is why I have found the lectionary so useful over the years of my preaching. It covers the landscape. It takes me to the passages I might not have gotten to on my own. And it has born out my belief that rather than vertical, truth is always discovered in the tension of opposing attributes. Grace would seem to be everything, yet it means nothing without taking judgment seriously. Guilt and
Forgiveness are both true, but each is revealed in its relationship with the other. Get too far to one side of the tension, and the truth erodes.
There is a flow to our worship life. This notion presses on me especially during Holy Week each year. It is easy to be in such a rush to get to Easter that we rush through the week . . . we just drop the palms and run to the empty tomb . . . move straight from our hosannas to our alleluias. Of course, the opposite can be true. Some people are mesmerized by the thirty-nine lashes and the nailed hands – it is all sacrifice and suffering. And, we have witnessed people whose faith is expressed in each of these extremes – a dreariness that pushes people away or an enthusiasm that cannot relate to real life.
Take the week – the entirety of it – as the horrible and lovely gift that it is. Hear the shouting crowds – plural remember – the crowd that shouted for him and the one later in the week who called for his crucifixion. Consider whether you can hear your own voice in the screams of either or both of the masses. Go to the upper room – chew and sip. Visit Gethsemane. Stand out in the cold and see if anyone accuses you of being one of his followers.
Get acquainted with Barabbas and make up your mind again about which man you prefer to see set free. Do what ever helps you to experience the highs and the lows of these days. (I will confess to having spent some Holy Saturday hours walking through cemeteries.)
There is a flow to our worship life.
Blessings and Peace,
These thoughts and reflections come from our Senior Minister, Minister of Music and Board Chair. We hope that they provide both challenge and inspiration for your spiritual life.