I’ve been thinking lately about the ways in which our worship services are developed and presented. A beauty of this process is that it involves a number of people to make it happen, and some of these folks are not known to us personally while others are quite well known. For instance, we have been utilizing the SHINE curriculum produced by Brethren Press and other associated communions as a guide for developing worship services. The writers of and contributors to this material are generally not known to us personally. Occasionally, we may know some of those who help to publish the material. But the number of people involved in bringing the material from ideas to the printed page to making it available for us are numerous, and mostly unfamiliar to us.
So, then, a few of us in our congregation take the SHINE material and glean from it ideas, suggestions, verbiage that we form into worship services. We know these creative people well, although we may not always know who specifically held responsibility for pulling various parts together. But, again, the work is often accomplished collaboratively. Granted, one person may be primarily responsible for producing a service but that process can and does include questions and conversations along the way. And, then, a number of people participate in presenting the service.
We also include videos and images and music from a variety of sources. Countless people are involved to produce all of these resources, both familiar and unfamiliar.
For all of these people and pieces to come together to provide a comprehensible and inspirational worship experience is remarkable. Such an extraordinary accomplishment could be compared to a well synchronized machine, that each gear meshes well with another, that each electrical impulse fires at just the right time, that all computerized components are algorithmically in alignment. But, we are not machines (click here if you are not a robot). So what is it that gives us the ability to have all the pieces come together for a smooth-flowing worship experience?
My answer to the proceeding question is trust. Trust is not blind alignment. Trust is asking probing questions, entering into honest conversation, seeking truth beyond present understanding. Trust is acknowledging that others can help us reach broader and more enlightened horizons, and that we have confidence in the other to help us achieve for greater purposes.
Jesus said, “…the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these…” When together we engage with each other to do the works of Jesus, and in numbers beyond the one person of Jesus, we can trust, then, that our efforts align with the purposes of Jesus. And if we trust that this is the work into which we enter, then we can trust those with whom we enter into this work.
There is much more interpretation needed on this subject, but simplisticly, the confidence we have in all the people (parts) working together for the good of the whole, we build trust in each other and the process to worship more faithfully and work more fruitfully.
I trust the sources and resources that share this philosophy. And I trust the people of this congregation with whom I share ministry, that together we can and will do the works of Jesus, and, as promised, even greater ones.
Recap: Worship, April 10, 2022
The worship service April 10 was a journey through Holy Week taking us from the palm-waving triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem through the Last Supper, the crucifixion, and the waiting and wondering of that day before resurrection. In a poem created by Carol Davis, this time is described as “a beginning…a burst…of a new radicalism, of radiation, of revolution, of revelation.” All of this was brought to light in an experience of worship that included special music shared by the choir, soloists, and a selected video, scripture dramatizations, special readings, spectacular imagery, and heartfelt prayers. The emotional experience of that first Holy Week was brought forward giving worship participants the opportunity to connect spiritual with emotional conditions today.
Following is a video shared during the service and worth watching again and again.
RESURRECTION IN MUSIC
Worship Service – April 17, 2022 – 9:30am – In-person & Zoom
(in-person service, masks strongly recommended, required for worship service participants)
Easter Sunday is a moment of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, of remembering that death is the finale, that life is a reality even when all seems lost or concluded. Points are reached in life that feel and seem like dead ends, as if a way forward is impossible. However, means exist which open doors and shed new light offering unseen ways for progress. One mean is music, a mean which reaches across time and space and place in which we find ourselves, a mean that opens doors and illumines the path. Could the music of our worship open doors and offer light for us? How might we encourage music to be a means of grace for others?
If you are unable to participate in the service in-person, the option to join by Zoom is available. Here is the Zoom link:
Time: Apr. 17, 2022 09:30 AM Central Time (US and Canada)
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+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
Meeting ID: 838 5299 1280