Thursday, January 24, 2013

Worship Services Should Never Be Boring

As a child I well remember being bored stiff in the insufferably long church services we attended every Sunday morning. My young mind traversed the globe thinking of ways to make the time go faster.

As an adult I still suffer from an occasional lack of joyful and rapt attention in a service, and find myself looking forward to the tasty carry-in meal that marks to conclusion of each of our weekly gatherings as a living-room-size house church congregation.

In spite of that, I believe worship gatherings can be occasions we consistently look forward to if we regularly experience the following:

1. Everyone is greeted with a warm, embracing welcome. This may or may not include the Biblical “holy kiss”, but certainly a greeting that is equally heartfelt and invitational.

2. We are free to “share our mutual woes, our mutual burdens bear.” This means none of us needs to ever leave our gatherings with the same weight of troubles we brought with us. We are extravagantly loved and fervently prayed for as needed.

3. We recognize that every scriptural passage, every Bible story, every hymn text, every responsive reading we use has had some kind of powerful impact on an individual or group of persons at some point in time, so much so that it merited inclusion as worship and learning material to be preserved and passed on. So we savor each as having the power to truly inspire and bless. If we are bored by any of it, it is only because we haven’t imaginatively immersed ourselves in the text.

4. Each of us regularly contributes encouragements, hymns, readings, and/or teachings to our weekly “carry-in” service, rather than just being passive consumers of fare other “professionals” have prepared. 

5. We have celebrative love feasts together on a regular basis, with every meal experienced as a form of Eucharist.

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