Thursday, December 9, 2010

The purpose of worship..

A friend of mine is a sixty-something, lapsed Presbyterian who is quite cynical about the church. She attended a service at the Vineyard Christian Fellowship, a rock and roll church that is one of the fastest-growing in America. I expected her to scoff at the experience.

Instead, she cried. She said, "That service led people to their pain very effectively, and having done so, led them out of that pain and gave them hope for the week ahead."

Episcopal priest Philip Weihe once wrote, "Anyone who has had an experience of the presence of God during a worship event is forever marked by that experience and will try to recreate that moment."

1 comment:

  1. I just had an experience like that. I awoke feeling low, the weather outside was dreadful (ice and snow) and I made myself get up and go to church -- to a church of my denomination I had not yet attended. When I got there, the church was locked up and the snow had not been shoveled off the sidewalks. Three inches of snow had prompted that congregation to call off worship. But I could tell from the sound of their singing that the United Methodist congregation across the street was in full swing, so I wandered in and took a seat. The sermon was one of the best I ever heard and touched me profoundly with a simple message about Advent as the season that reminds us to wait quietly for and open ourselves to the simple receiving of God's gift of grace. When we sang after the sermon "I want to walk as a child of the light," my emotions gave way. I am still marvelling at the unplanned, unexpected gift I received that morning through a set of unpredictable circumstances. I experienced the presence of God with those good Methodists and I plan to visit that congregation again.