I’ve been thinking a lot about worship these days…more so than usual. No doubt, due in part to the fact that this is-sue of The Messenger will have a focus on that topic. So, you will see some stuff in this issue from Kermit and Bill about the Worship Ministry Area’s plans for Holy Week. We have also been discussing the possibility of doing some creative things in the chancel area of the sanctuary to make it more conducive to creative worship experiences, safer for our Praise Team and visually more appealing.
But I’ve been also been thinking more about worship than usual these days because a clergy colleague of mine is exploring God’s leading to a call in a new church. He’s listed me as a reference so I’ve been having lots of conversations with people about my colleague’s worship/preaching style and how that might square with the preferences, desires and styles for worship in the churches he’s considering.
There have been some days when it seems like the only thing I’ve been able to think about is worship and many of you know how this goes. When your head is full of just one thing, all the other stuff like…the stuff you read, the stuff you hear, the stuff you see, the stuff you touch, the stuff you eat…the stuff you smell…the places you go, ALL the stuff somehow has a connection to that one thing.
So, it did not strike me as a surprise the other day when I was passing by what used to be The Pale and Bucket Pub and saw that it had finally re-opened as a new business with a new name: The Pies Guys Pub and then found myself tripping down memory lane. I was remembering the many ‘rounds’ of our God at the Bar events we held there at the old Pale and Bucket and at different bars around the city just a couple years ago. In that tripping, one profound moment in The Blarney Stone came to mind. It was a moment when our speaker that night, Marie Jerge, asked us to close our eyes and be silent for 3 full minutes and to try to be mindful of what we heard, sensed, felt or understood in that moment. During the sharing time after the time was up, I was amazed at the what people heard even in the midst of Aaron yelling over the loud speaker: “Bob…Bob…Your burger’s ready…BOB…come and get it.” What an amazing experience of God’s presence…& of worship that evening…and to think it happened outside the walls of our church.
And that led to memories about the Canadian Canoe Trip for pastors and church leaders I led for many years and our worship experiences around camp fires…and in the rain…and on the water…and all of them were outside the walls of the church…
…which led to thoughts of the worship services that happen in the beautiful outdoor chapel at Camp Dudley every Sunday during the summer…and how I’m so blessed to be able to be there to preach at one them…outside the walls of the church…
…which led to my excitement about the Festival of Homiletics I will be going to this year, in St. Paul, Minnesota, May 13-17, and all the amazing worship that happens there…outside these walls here at OHPC…
And then…moments after this little trip down memory lane, I sat down at my computer to write this newsletter article and was quickly flipping through my emails before I began to write. When I clicked on the latest edition of the Ministry Matters magazine we get…and I kid you not…what popped up was an article entitled: “Worship Outside the Walls” by Laura Heikes.
And I’m like, “Seriously, Lord? SERIOUSLY? I know all about divine synchronicity and God moments and all, but this just seemed over the top.”
I read the article and was blown away by the connection of its theme to the themes of my thoughts. Immediately, I emailed the author to secure her permission to share it with you here. (For those of you who don’t receive an electronic version of The Messenger, permission was also granted to reprint it for you in the next couple pages.)
I’m still processing all these connections, but one thing seems clear; part of our growing with God here at OHPC needs to involve exploring different places and ways and means to worship the One “who did not call us to stay put and wait but to ‘go and make disciples of all nations’…”
I wonder where God may be leading us to hold our next worship service…and how he might be calling some of you to help with the leadership of it? Might you consider this in your prayers? I sure am!
See you at our next worship service, wherever that may be!