Allow me to bring us back to the topic of "What is good worship?" I am enjoying my Doctoral studies this semester as we look at the models of worship, their history, and their current makeup. I am the most blessed in our DMin Cohort, because I am privileged to move from church to church each Sunday, to see a variety of worship models, and to "experience" the time of worship with many different people of God.
I have seen each model that Dr. Philips has taught us in these past few weeks. I celebrate the variety and the richness of how we, as clergy, bring our people together to worship a living and loving God. That, after all, is our chief aim in life, to serve and worship God Almighty.
This week we talked about how the "experience" might not involve only our hearts and minds but our full bodies in the time of worship. We read this past week a reading that talked about the best worship being that which invokes our full self, soul and body into the worship. The author used a term that I found uncomfortable. The use of the word was uncomfortable, because I am older than most in my group, and I would never have thought to use such a term. As I challenged this in my break-out group, another colleague shared that the "experience" of worship cannot always be summarized in a single word or phrase. There is the mystery of the Holy Spirit at work in our worship, and as it moves us to engage soul and body we simply say "Amen" or a silent "thank you, Lord."
That rang true to me, and I could embrace that with excitement. For all that we do to bring this hour of worship together as our honor of God, we must never discount the work of the Holy Spirit to take over, allowing the outbreak of the mystery of God to wash over us. We must do our best with excellence, and then we commit the rest to God's Holy Spirit.
How do you create good worship? I hope you are working diligently to offer the best of yourself and your people to this exciting and life-changing time. I encourage you to continue to study new ways and old ways that bring the richness of the faith before your people. I compel you to bring excellence to the worship hour(s) and to offer your very best. Finally, I pray you will find opportunities to worship for yourselves in places where you are not responsible for the celebration but where you might also be washed over by the mystery of God.
I am so grateful for the many powerful experiences I have been blessed by as I worship in your congregations.
What if everyone prepared for worship with the concept that Jesus might show up this Sunday?