Preparing for Worship

by | Jun 7, 2024 | Preparing For Worship

Our offertory today is an arrangement of the hymn, “Be Still My Soul,” which was written by Katharina von Schlegel of Germany in the mid-1700s. At this time there was a movement occurring in the Lutheran church that focused on religious pietism and emphasized themes such as emotional expression, biblical faithfulness and personal experience, all of which show up in different ways in the text of the song.

This hymn evokes the verse “be still and know that I am God,” which comes near the end of Psalm 46. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble,” opens the familiar Psalm, which goes on to describe how God is above the shaking mountains, the roaring waters and the warring nations. How many of us would think to “be still” in the midst of such tumultuous environments?

Every time my assignment rolls around to write the Preparing for Worship column, I ask myself, what does it mean to prepare for worship? More often than I’d like to admit, I am hurried as I try to tie up loose ends from the Sunday School hour before finding my place in the Sanctuary. Perhaps you were running late this morning and your heart rate hasn’t quite settled yet. Perhaps you are holding concern and worry for a loved one struggling with health or other concerns. Perhaps you find yourself longing for some sense of the Divine in a season of spiritual drought. Perhaps you are thinking through a long to-do list for a busy week ahead. Whatever your situation, we all need some preparation to turn our hearts, minds and bodies to the act of worship.

What if we all started this morning by attempting to “be still and know?” I pray that we can be still against the things that would distract us from God in this next hour and instead lean into our collective knowing that it is God who is our refuge and strength.