Welcome to the Sunday devotion. As we move forward in this new year, we are looking at new ways to face and embrace changes that seem to be happening rapidly in our lives. Even as we engage in pursuing Christ’s mission, we must discern how we go about doing that amidst a new normal that seems to be constantly evolving. When you go to church, what are your expectations? Why do you go? Or why do you choose not to go? What parts of Sunday morning traditional worship speak to your spiritual self? Do you find the music to be the most engaging, or is it prayers, readings, sermon, etc.?
As I reflect on my worship experiences, it is often the music that fills me with the presence of the divine. It is said that those who sing, pray twice. Whether it is the music of the choir, the hymns or special instrumentals, music calms, inspires and fills my heart, mind and soul. It helps nullify the anxieties of my daily life. It awakens my senses and allows the spirit more avenues to enter in. What parts of worship speak to you?
Some people question the value of gathering together for 1 hour a week – what does it really accomplish? In the traditional worship service, it offers a separate time to intentionally spend time worshiping and focusing on our relationship with God. Some may not find this valuable. Others really look forward to it and need it. We must realize that the diverse ways of worship help speak to the unique and diverse souls gathered together. Plus, it brings us together with others who share our basic beliefs and need for community and fellowship with those who share our faith.
I also have to admit, I really like it when worship is ”outside the box” and offers something new. I catches my attention. Perhaps it is something like writing special thoughts of God on strips of cloth and attaching them to a tree in the churchyard to “allow our prayers and thoughts to blow in the wind and into the world.”
But we must also recognize that we are a community that pledges to live Christ’s mission. And that mission exists outside the church walls. As a way to reach out in mission and take advantage of the dedicated Sunday worship time, our congregation has found ways to incorporate service into the worship hour. We’ve created inspirational artwork to send with packages to Ukrainian people, letting them know we are thinking of them. It is amazing the responses we hear about these handmade offerings. We’ve also packed lunches for those experiencing homelessness and cooked meals to be delivered to shelters. This, too, is worship.
May we continue to expand our expectations of what is worship and how we express God’s love to others. May we grow to appreciate the spiritual needs of others and allow the unity of diversity and the blessings of community to be exhibited in our worship time and expanded in living Christ’s mission.
We’d love to hear about your experiences. Feel free to contact the Washington, DC Community of Christ at email@example.com and share with us what worship means or can mean to you.
Author: Bonnie Barber
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Various authors throughout the Chesapeake Bay Mission Center and beyond provide these thought-provoking weekly devotions.