Now THAT’S What I Call Worship!
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” -Hebrews 4:14-16
Can you remember a time you really felt God’s presence in worship? Was there an occasion when the words of a song or the reading of Scripture brought tears to your eyes? When was the moment that God’s presence became powerfully real to you in the Sacrament of Communion, or Baptism?
There are many times in my life when God’s Spirit has touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes. I have stood in the family of God and celebrated that I belong to God. It is amazing to me the gift of God’s love and forgiveness. That gift is truly Amazing Grace! I remember being at summer camp and singing together, “You are my hiding place. You always fill my heart with songs of deliverance, whenever I am afraid, I will trust in YOU!” I have loved that song ever since. The promise that I was never alone, that I could trust in God, and that God was the one who would deliver me from danger or trouble or pain was an enormous comfort as a young person stepping out into the world.
It is our constant desire that worship is meaningful and transformative. We strive to present our very best to God whom we worship. We choose songs and scriptures which connect our hearts to our savior. We participate in the sacraments with joy and celebration, knowing that God’s presence and work in us makes it a sacred moment. We may not always sing your favorite song. And sometimes the message doesn’t come across as clearly as we had intended, but at the end of the service, I always give the day to God. As I walk down the aisle to shake hands at the door, my prayer is always, “Lord, this is what we could give you today. Let it be enough.”
We come to worship to be fed, to learn, and to connect with each other and with God. We don’t have to be afraid of God who is perfect and just and righteous. We can approach God’s throne with confidence because of God’s incredible love for us. If you have a friend who hesitates coming to church, invite them to come with you and share this idea with them: we don’t have to be perfect to come to God. He loves us just the way we are and forgives our past.
God of all praise and glory, You call us to rejoice in you, to praise your name, to find comfort in your presence, to stand in awe, to bow in confession, to come and worship. And in your worship, you meet us there. Your Spirit proclaims truth, your Word anoints us with wisdom, and your roots grow deeper in our soul. Lord, you deserve our worship each day. So, please forgive us when we forget what it is about, when we think ourselves too busy. Forgive us when we make it about what we desire or what entertains us. This sacred gift of wonder and love was meant to be so much more than we often make it. Yet we long to experience you, God. We need you. So, inspire our worship with your Spirit, so that our hearts and our lives are transformed by your wonder. This we pray to the living God who encounters us in worship. Amen.
Warmly in Christ,
Rev. Hanna Peterson Shearer