21 Nov Still. Just. Wow!
November 21, 2019
Do you know what it is to feel so much joy and gratitude that you think your heart might burst?
That is the happy place I inhabit this morning, and I am not alone. I received a text message on the way to work from a parishioner that simply read, “Still. Just. Wow!” to which I could only reply, “Yeah, me too.”
She was referring to our worship service on Sunday. As a pastor, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I am deeply passionate about worship, and I work hard, along with the church staff, to make our corporate worship meaningful—by which I primarily mean that we endeavor to create worship that opens us to God’s presence and God’s actions in our lives.
Every week we combine music, scripture, prayers, sermon, fellowship, care and community in various ways all with the desire that we would be ushered into a deeper awareness of God at work in us and in our world. The varying parts are important. Each of them serves a particular purpose. They are not “add ons” or “place holders” until we get to the “good stuff” (whatever that might be—I think each person would define that differently.)
One of our goals each week is that all the parts of worship come together to form a cohesive whole. When the service concludes, I want people to leave knowing what it was we were talking about that morning. Perhaps we are focusing on forgiveness or the kingdom of God or God’s love. I want the music and liturgy to reinforce the scripture and sermon, and vice versa.
For all the thought and prayer and intentionality that goes into our worship planning, the truth is that when deep and profound worship occurs, it is because the whole is greater than the sum of its parts—and that only happens because of the Spirit of God. And last Sunday, the Spirit came and camped out among us, and it was nothing short of glorious. The parts of worship came alive to form a whole that left us overjoyed, grateful, and nearly inarticulate, with “Wow!” being about the best most of us could utter. It was a “wow,” but it was also so, so much more.
I can never predict when these kinds of services will come along, and that’s okay. That’s exactly what it means to say that we worship, serve and love a supernatural God. God cannot be reduced to formulas or expectations or language. God does not show up in exactly the same way two weeks in a row. But, here’s the thing—God does always show up. God is in our praise and our prayers, in our tears and our sorrow, in our knowing and not knowing, in our care of friend and stranger alike. And when my heart is filled to overflowing with thanksgiving and joy, as it was on Sunday, God can hear even the words I don’t know how to say.
Yours for the Kingdom,