Preparing for Worship

by | Jan 26, 2024 | Preparing For Worship

The year was 1978 in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. A group of five teenage boys came together and created a band, New Edition, so named to indicate they were a new edition of the Jackson 5. The group reached the height of its popularity in the 1980s and according to some musicologists became the model for the modern boy band.

In 1988 the group debuted a No. 1 hit, “Can You Stand the Rain.” The ’80s babies out there might know these lyrics already, but here is a refresher:

Sunny days, everybody loves them
Tell me … can you stand the rain?
Storms will come
This we know for sure
Can you stand the rain?

The gist of the song is quite simple. Everybody can deal with the sunny days when all things seem to be at peace and easy. But on the days where things get messy, muddy and muddled, will you still be around? When misinformation seems to run rampant, will you use your voice for truth, justice and mercy? I know New Edition was asking this of a spouse or partner, but these questions would have been appropriate for those who became deacons in the early church. This journey is not easy, and I know you are good when the sun is out, but can you stand the rain?

R.P. Symonds wrote, “There is a story of Lawrence, deacon of Rome, martyred 258, who on his arrest was ordered to hand over the treasures of the church. He returned with the poor of the Christian community, the jewels of Christ’s people.” While this story may be a legend, it reflects the diaconal preoccupation with the welfare of the local church.

This morning, we ordain and reinstate deacons. Together, they bring different experiences, backgrounds and stories that will make us more the imago dei. As part of the free church tradition and holding deeply to the local autonomy of the church, our deacons do not make all the decisions for our congregation. But they are representative of our congregation, always discerning and evermore concerned for the welfare of the church.

Thank you for your “yes” on the sunny days of Wilshire and even on the days it may rain.