During my freshman year of college, I set out on a spiritual journey that is common to many people of faith. My studies and experiences led me to question some of the most basic assumptions posited by the religious worldview I inherited. By the time my junior year rolled around, I had tested the waters of almost every major faith tradition the world has to offer. It took me a while, but I eventually found a new home in the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Three things drew me to our faith tradition: (1) I don’t have to check my brain at the door when I enter the Sanctuary, because human minds, and the questions they raise, are gifts from God. (2) The Presbyterian churches I’ve attended focus more on sharing the all-inclusive love of Jesus, than creating lists of people to exclude from our common life. (3) Our worship is intentional; theologically informed and traditionally grounded, yet adaptive and responsive to the challenges of different historical moments.
In the modern era, human beings are primarily conceptualized as “thinking things,” which are driven to action by reason and beliefs. Yet, careful reflection on my spiritual journey has led me to the conclusion that people are shaped more by the modes and objects of their worship than the ideas they espouse. Before we are things that think and believe, we are “beings who worship.” In the same way, the common life of our churches and societies are shaped more by what we practice, than what we preach.
This Sunday is Youth Sunday at BMPC. Every element of the worship service will be led by one of the young people who have been shaped by the spiritual practices of our congregation. They have composed a worship service that reflects the life-liturgies they have practiced in this place. As they seek to embody the intentionality that characterizes our Presbyterian tradition, those of us in the pews will have an opportunity to be reshaped by a new generation of beings who worship. We might even gain a deeper understanding of who we are as Children of God. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to it!