Sunday, March 10, 2013

Lent: Not giving up on worship

So I'm probably going to endanger my ordination process by saying this, but worship is kind of awkward.

I mean honestly. Non-Christian folks who read this. Don't you think what Christians do on Sunday morning is kind of weird?

It's like, a bunch of people who might not even like each other gathered in a room, singing songs that aren't on the radio (or are only on an awfully cheesy radio station) and saying words--let's be honest, often mumbling words--together. And there's a lot of standing up and sitting down.

And then sometimes we eat a chunk of bread that we dipped in grape juice. When else do you dip bread in grape juice?

(It should be noted that in all the Christian communities I'm in love with, people gather together afterwards to eat the rest of the bread. Delicious. When one of the pastors I work with brought me communion in the hospital, we shared it with one of my fellow patients who spread butter on the Body of Christ. Awesome.)

One thing that you learn in seminary is that there is a lot of bad worship out there. You learn how you are supposed to preach and how you are supposed to plan a service and what sort of theology lays behind worship. And we all--at least all those of us who are still bothering with this church thing--have sat through a really snoozer sermon or cringed at the off key singing over the organ or the cheesy lyrics of the latest worship song.

And yet. Every Sunday we give it a try, all over again.

I don't want to get too much into my theology of worship here. To talk about God gathering us together to be formed and re-formed and sent out into God's world to serve.

What I want to say here is that each Sunday, or at least most Sundays, I try again, and each Sunday, or at least most Sundays, I find something surprising happening.

Sometimes it's the lyric to a song, or a bit of a prayer. Sometimes it's shaking the hand of someone who smiles when they say, "Peace be with you." Often, it is simply the ritual of returning, again and again, looking for God. Looking to be changed. Looking for those places in my life that need transformation.

Today, it was singing in worship next to my mom at Metropolitan. My mom is...well...she's not the best singer ever. But she means it when she sings.

And this evening it was singing, with the band at Crossroads, "I won't be silent anymore," and praying, praying, praying not to be silent, and smiling uncontrollably after communion.

I don't always notice it when God shows up in worship. But, believe it or not, God shows up.

If my roommate Andy was writing this, he'd tell you that worship is more than just getting together on Sunday morning (or at any other time for that matter). That it's also the acts that we do to be Christ's body in the world. Like serving sandwiches to unhoused folks after church.

So maybe, writing about how awkward worship is, is an act of worship, too.

This Lent, I'm not giving up on worship.

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