This Lenten season, I have been participating with area pastors in a Round Robin of preaching at other congregations on the theme, “Who is my neighbor?” It has been a joy to participate in this way of learning about one another in our community. I’m rather sad to see it come to an end.
I was thinking of that when the synod weekly news came and I read our Bishop’s contribution. Bishop Jessica Crist wrote:
Worship is about relationship-relationship with God, relationship with one another. While deep thinking is always important, it does not take the place of worship. While contemplation of nature is uplifting and inspiring, it does not take the place of worship. While serving the neighbor is crucial, it does not take the place of worship. Included in the baptismal charges is: "bring them to the word of God and the holy supper." The actions of worship are not outdated rituals. They are expressions of relationship, using some ancient and some modern forms. We worship in many ways-traditional and contemporary, abbreviated and long, casual and formal, but we never worship alone. Worship is a communal faith practice. In the second creation story (Genesis 2), God creates Adam and then comments, "It is not good for the man to be alone." From the beginning, God created community. One was insufficient. At least 2 were needed. Jesus said, "For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them." (Matthew 18:20)There IS a joy in worshipping with others - being intentionally focused on God, focused on neighbor, focused on relationships. No wonder I’m sad to see this Lenten worship exchange come to an end.
Maybe it’s not an end, however. Maybe it’s a beginning, to explore how we can do even more - gathered together in Jesus’ name. Hmmm….