Worship is often thought of in terms of people gathering in a particular space to share together in singing, praying, sharing, reading scripture, and hearing a sermon or similar exposition of the scriptures. Over the past 20 months or so, our congregation has experienced worship beyond the usually understood terms. The ZOOM platform has given us the opportunity to understand that worship can happen with participants engaging from their own personal space. Yes, participants are gathered but in a different way than has always been the custom. Additionally, new ways of worshiping together have been introduced, opening the door for greater participation from everyone. These newer methods also expand our ability to encounter God and/or God’s imprint in all corners of life and experiences. Stories, music, art, poetry, images and so much more point the way to the presence of God in places and ways that inspire and amaze us anew.
Worship, while being an opportunity to acknowledge God’s presence everywhere and in everything, is also the opportunity to express praise and gratitude. Worship, therefore, is more than passively residing in the presence of the Creator, it is, also, actively engaging with the Eternal Presence to say or show how appreciative we are. Common expressions of worship are praying, singing, raising hands, quietly meditating, and so on. Yesterday (Sunday, Oct. 31), during our 5th Sunday project, another form of worship expression was experienced and witnessed—service, working together.
Generally speaking, each month with a 5th Sunday, the intended plan is to not meet for worship but rather to enter into a service project. Although the emphasis is on service rather than worship, the reality is that service does not preclude worship. In my humble view, yesterday was a clear indication that worship resulted from service.
There was no formal plan set for the activity engaged in yesterday. A simple list of ideas was prepared and made available. People arrived to help with tools and energy, focused on working together, committed to engaging in the overall plan of sprucing up the areas around the church building and parsonage. As the morning progressed, words of encouragement were shared with each other. The atmosphere was one of unity, the diversity of abilities and talents engaging in a purposeful direction. I saw this as a microcosm of the enterprise of humanity at its best, a pleasing display of gratitude and praise to God. And, an honorable witness to anyone and everyone who observed all those participating.
Comments I heard following the morning’s activity included, “Wow, this looks great!” “This is work that needed to be done.” “We really made a difference this morning.” I agree. A difference was made and in more ways than just enhancing curb appeal. We enhanced the lives of each other. We added to the honor God received. We opened the door a little wider to move on to other projects that honor God and share goodness with our neighbors and in our neighborhoods.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 7 WORSHIP
Worship on Nov. 7 will be in-person in the church sanctuary. Special music will be provided by Ed Carper. The scripture text guiding the time together is Numbers 27:1-11. This Hebrew scripture story may be less familiar than others yet it offers helpful insight about the importance of change for the purpose of justice. Following laws or customs handed down through time seem mundane until someone realizes the negative impact such regulations have upon their ability to function equitably in society. Learn more about the story in Number this coming Sunday during worship. Be inspired and challenged to consider ways in which you may become involved to makes changes for the good of all.
If you are unable to attend in-person and have an Internet connection, you may watch the service on Facebook Live, or view it following the service as a Facebook recording (www.facebook.com/cantoncob)