Practice is a funny word. Sometimes we use it to describe preparation — we practice in anticipation of something, we go to practice before a big game. But practice also can mean the “actual application or use of an idea, belief or method.” It is how we live out what we believe. As Christians we have a number of “practices,” the practical things we do that mark our Christian life. These practices grow with us.
Practices cannot really be taught; they have to be lived. They have to be practiced. Worship is one such practice. There are books that describe the parts of worship. There are classes about elements or expectations of worship. There are funny videos online that make the mystery of worship more accessible. As a church, we work to give students the tools to be successful in worship, but books, classes, videos, and tools all fall short. Worship must be practiced, and more importantly, it must be practiced in community. Worship can only be learned by worshipping.
We need to see others listening to learn how to listen. We need to hear others singing so that we can sing a new song. We need to feel the energy as a community recites ancient words together so that we can remember their power. We need to see the ease of someone familiar with the Sanctuary, and the wonder of someone in awe of the stained glass for the first time. Every time we gather to worship, we are building our worshipping skills, and we are growing as a worshipping community.
As a congregation we have many different times and places that we worship. From special services throughout the year, to weddings and funerals, to our regular Sunday morning services; worship is an anchor for our community. This Sunday at 5:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary, our Evening Worship Services restart for the program year. Each service helps us prepare for the month ahead and to focus on one element of worship. The elements of worship will be familiar: We will sing hymns, pray together, hear scripture proclaimed, celebrate the sacraments, be guided by music, and sent to serve. But the service might feel a little different. The liturgy is led by a variety of voices. All ages help to welcome and usher. A range of musical leaders share their gifts.
Learning from one another and guided by the Spirit, it is another opportunity for our congregation to practice worship together. I hope you will be able to join us in the year ahead.
Evening Worship dates:
- August 27 - Commissioning Teachers and Blessing of the Backpacks
October 1 - Blessing of the Animals (front lawn)
- November 5 - Celebration of Communion
- December 3 - Advent Worship (Advent Live Nativity at 4:00 p.m.)
- January 7 - Epiphany Celebration
- February 4 - Celebration of Baptism
- March 4 - Lenten Worship
- April 7 - Eastertide and Communion