It’s the beginning of a new season. Today happens to be the first day of school for most kids in West Michigan which means more traffic on the road. Churches are noticeably fuller as vacationers are back in the pew and in my church’s case college students are back too. Along with the increased bustle of activity I am greeted with much cooler air in the mornings and the sound of eager geese flying south.
Churches are also experiencing an increase of activity with the resumption of programs and maybe even the beginning of some new ones. What does this all have to do with worship? Everything. Worship is a conversation with God which occurs within a context and our current context is one of beginnings. To be pastorally responsive within worship means acknowledging the transitions that are occurring; the fear and excitement felt by the child going to her first preschool class, the freshman college student leaving home, and those in between. It means acknowledging the fears and dreams of parents and teachers alike but also the empty grieving hearts of those who have lost children or who wish they had a child to send off to school.
Worship occurs within a community that is fulfilling its covenant promises by providing bible studies and other opportunities for God’s children of all ages. Leaders, teachers and helpers alike are giving of their time and talents to be a part of that discipleship process and ought to be commissioned by the community for their special tasks. Music groups are resuming rehearsals and their priestly role also needs to be acknowledged and lifted up in prayer.
This is a time of new beginnings and a time to pause, reflect, and take note of the many fears and concerns in the lives of those we worship with and also the ways we are blessed as God’s church and then name those within the context of worship. Pray for each other, encourage, and bless so that throughout this next year we may be a blessing to others.