Sunday, March 16, 2014

Contemplative Worship and Our Church's Approach

Our pastor is trying something new for Lent:  a contemplative service at 5:05 on Saturday nights.  Last night that option worked wonderfully with my schedule.

I have often complained about the noisiness of the modern service.  By noisiness, I chiefly mean that I find many services overamplified--and I'm partially deaf, so if it's hard on me, it must be hard on people with full hearing.

I find modern life to be conducted in a busy-busy-rush-rush pace, and often church services are no different.  We race from this part to that part of the worship service and scarcely stop to think about what it all means.  Our approach to the contemplative service combats that by having lectio divina instead of a sermon.

We gathered in the choir area, which makes a surprisingly good worship space for a small group.  We sang the liturgy for evening prayer from the worship resource Evangelical Lutheran Worship.  We did our lectio divina, and the discussion that followed was helpful.  I'm not always happy about the presence of sharing time, but it worked well.  We had communion.

I drove home feeling soothed and content--such a difference!  I often leave regular worship feeling jangled and desperate for a nap.  Why do I go to those services?

Often it can't be helped.  But I'm lucky to be at a church that offers alternatives.  Our Worship Together service does not leave me jangled.  Last night's service actually helped drive away the jangledness of the week.  These are the worship services I need.

I know that worship isn't about me.  I know that worship in its strictest sense should be about God.

But there are so many approaches to worship.  I believe that God would not want me to be so unnerved, week after week, by worship.  Luckily, I've found some options that I believe can be pleasing to both me and God.

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