Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Worship is the most important ministry we do as a community of faith. In their book The Work of the People: what we do in worship and why, Marlea Gilbert, Christopher Grundy, Eric Myers and Stephanie Perdew wrote, “The act of worship makes us church. All that we do beyond worship – teaching our children, serving the poor, gathering in small groups, maintaining buildings in which to meet – arises from our encounter with the living God in worship… in worship we take part in the actions that form our identity as individuals and as Christians. We share the Word in reading and hearing Scripture and preaching; we welcome people into the community of Christ through baptism; we join together and are formed as the Body of Christ in Communion; we offer ourselves and our resources for God’s work; and we are sent out with a vision of the world redeemed by God’s love to serve all God’s people” (7-8).
The authors continue: “Liturgy” means “the work of the people.” So, when we call our worship a liturgy, we are saying that worship involves the active participation of all the people. There are many places in our worship liturgy when the congregation, choir and pastor participate – call to worship, hymns, responses, the communion liturgy and sometimes the sermon.
There is no one right way to worship God as long as we come into worship with an open heart that allows God’s Holy Spirit to move within and among us. The order of worship differs greatly among congregations and denomination. As often happens when a new pastor is called, over the last year we have changed the format of our worship bulletins, how they are folded, our communion liturgy responses and many other little things. The Worship & Music committee and I have decided to try experimenting with our order of worship over the next six months. We hope you will take a deep breath and engage in this experiment.
Over the next couple of months think about what pieces of the worship liturgy that are most important to you.
Think about what pieces of the worship liturgy might be most important to the people sitting around you.
Think about what pieces of the worship liturgy distract you from fully experiencing God during worship.
Think about what pieces of the worship liturgy are most important to a guest worshiping with us for the first time.
Think about what pieces of the worship liturgy are confusing and distracting for guest worshiping with us.
In January we would like your feedback about the experiment, then we will make decisions about further changes and how we want to worship God together.
Blessings on the journey,