I profoundly miss the gathered body, worshipping in song together. I admit, I’m a cryer and emotional worshipper. Even the coolest of hearts has been moved by the sound of worshipping voices or the beauty of the eucharist in communion, especially when you can really sense the desperation and adoration. The calling out to God for help and deliverance. This, after all, is the legacy of God’s people. Worship is not just saying, “thank you God, you are amazing,” though it can be. Something mysterious happens in genuine worship.
Barbara Brown Taylor, in her beautiful memoir of faith, Leaving Church, reflects on this. Read this passage slowly:
“Most of us do not live especially holy lives, after all. We spend most of our time sitting in traffic, paying bills, and being irritated with one another. Yet every week we are invited to stop all of that for one hour at least. We are invited to participate in a great drama that has been going on without us for thousands of years, and one that will go on as long as there is a single player left standing.
If this terrific mystery is not apparent to most people sitting in the pews, then there are at least two things wrong. One is that worship has become too tame, and the other is that those who come have stopped bringing their own fire. The two may even be related, but neither is easily solved, nor am I sure that many people want them to be. Tame worship is easier to agree on than any other kind, and bringing fire requires a lot more energy than simply showing up. When life is pretty good and church is pleasant enough, who needs resurrection?”
Covid has forced many of us to re-think our relationship with “church” and “worship.” Most, I’d venture to guess, have barely kept the ritual or tuned in casually online. Perhaps because church and worship had become exactly what Barbara describes, it really didn’t hold that important a place for us if we’re honest.
Yet especially in this intense and strange time of Covid and politics and unrest – might there be a fresh invitation to the deepest, most profound things of God? Might we have an opportunity, because of the challenges we face to rediscover our great need for God, together?
Worship is the deep recognition, in the presence of God, that we don’t just need religion and rituals. It is a cry and a recognition that we don’t just need a little bit better life but we are actually dead without Jesus. We need resurrection. And only He can offer that.
Grace and Peace,