Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Measure of Worship

My family chose to attend a different church today.  We are members of a church that we all enjoy but on this last lazy Sunday before the start of school we were all happy with a change of pace and a shorter drive.  The green in me was happy to only drive three miles rather than twenty.  The Presbyterian in me wasn't so happy with the change in worship style and expectations.   All of me survived and even learned a bit from stepping out in worship.

First, I learned that worship is different things to different people.  Yes, I did know this.  It was interesting to really think about what I enjoy and realize what, to me, is worshipful. 

Music is worshipful.  Whether it comes from an organ, piano, flute, violin, guitar or drums, dare I even say clanging cymbals?  I find music that praises God to be worshipful.  Words are worshipful when set to music.  Whether the words are on a big screen or in a hymnal, words that praise God and acknowledge God's creation, power and mercy are worshipful. 

Prayer is worshipful.  I love the act of praying communally, silently and listening to others pray.  I find the moments of silence to be a gift.  I find the sharing of concerns and blessings to be part of what makes church a place of community for me.  Knowing that we are all praying for the same things at the same time is worshipful.

Sharing scripture and a message is worshipful.  Digging into God's word and realizing, once again, that it speaks to me is such a humbling and filling experience.  Hearing the same message with new ears or a new message with an open heart is worshipful.  Knowing that God wants me to know more and come closer is worshipful.

The things that I don't find worshipful are more varied but not really surprising.  Announcements and offering are not worshipful, even when they are set to music.  Another thing that I have a hard time finding worshipful is communion and that's kind of crazy because it should be the most worshipful of all. 

Today at the church we attended the communion was the drive-through variety.  Cruise up the aisle, grab your bread and your grape juice and cruise on back to your seat to enjoy the holy meal.   I've never experienced drive-through communion with these nifty to-go sets but I'm sure there are many who receive their communion in this manner without a second thought.  I've also experienced communion passed through the aisles while everyone sits and waits, praying that no one will drop a tray of cups or a plate of bread while it's being passed.  Especially praying that none of my family members drop the trays.  Intinction is a bit like the drive-through communion but someone actually presents the bread and cup to you.  I find intinction to be a bit more personal than the drive-through method though it tends to be a bit messier.   I think it's the activity required and my tendancy to focus on what's happening around me rather than on God that makes communion less than worshipful for me.

I found myself wondering today why we don't celebrate communion during a meal, like Jesus and the disciples did.  Communion by communing.  It seems logical and biblical.  I'm going to give that more thought but it just seems to strike the right chord.  What's better than sharing a great meal with friends and family, talking, laughing, really being together and blessing each other?  Then completing the communion with believers by communing with God.  Sharing a moment that calls God in and makes God part of all the good you've been given.  That sounds like the perfect exercise in worship to me.  Where can I find a church that worships like that?

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