When I started at McDonough First UMC I wrote a series of articles for our weekly newsletter entitled, "Why We Do What We Do" as a way to explain our worship and the traditions, reasons, experiences and scriptures that guided us week after week. I heard that this was helpful to people especially when I began to institute some changes in the worship celebration several months later. I should have learned to do that here with you all but alas I forgot. Now it is four years later and I am remembering that I could have done that.
Why am I bringing that up now? I have been reading over the survey from our Set Up Meeting and the very interesting remarks that many shared and it has caused me to remember how helpful it is to explain why we do what we do instead of assuming that you would know perfectly what is on my mind. I have appreciated everyone's candor and honest feedback. Again, I realize that it might have been helpful to share, "Why We Do What We Do" with you before we began.
Allow me to share a couple of "why's" with you now. In the survey many have shared that they do not see the need to for us to worship at our Set Up Meeting. They have shared that after all "we just had worship on Sunday". While that is true and I respect that, allow me to share with you 'Why We Do this.
I do not believe we can ever have enough of worship; of presenting ourselves to a loving and grace filled God. Giving God one hour on Sunday, and for many a token hour, is not enough. God wants and deserves more of our worship and praise. While we are in worship on Sunday let's be honest, we are leaders not participants. It is our task to bring people to that time of praise and adoration before the Triune God and it takes a lot of work and prayer on our part. While we may be blessed for sure we are not worshiping totally.
I believe that every time I have the opportunity to bring the clergy together I need to offer a chance for you all to worship, to praise, to lift up hearts and hands as those who are focusing not on the next event in the order but on the One and only God. We need time before our Creator to simply be and to be alongside others on this journey.
I believe it is my duty as your Superintendent to do my best to feed your soul with the Bread of Heaven and give you what you give each Sunday on these few times a year when we gather. It is both my duty and my honor to care for your spiritual lives as the presiding elder.
I believe God honors our times of worship as those "practitioners" of worship because God has much God wishes to place in our hearts and lives; worship is the best place for that as we together lift ourselves as that offering before the throne of God.
So, when we gather as the clergy of The Atlanta Emory District we will worship and I will not let the clock dictate our time of worship. This is God's time, a gift to God from all of us. After all it only happens a couple times a year, surely we can carve that out of our busy ministries for the One who calls us to ministry.
Hamilton Mill UMC was uplifting and powerful in their worship and in their hospitality. Dale and I are so grateful to worship with Dave, Jason and Jonathan for leading us in a powerful time together