Preparing for Worship

by | Feb 18, 2022 | Preparing For Worship

Heather MustainPreparing for Worship – Heather Mustain.


Today we sing a hymn with words written by Ken Medema. Many of you know and love Medema’s work. But for those who don’t know him, his official bio states, “For four decades, Ken Medema has inspired people through storytelling and music. Though blind from birth, Ken sees and hears with heart and mind. His ability to capture spirit in word and song is unparalleled.”

And it is indeed unparalleled. Often Medema improvises in the moment, taking a passage of Scripture or a sentence from a sermon and builds an entire piece that is both theologically sound and heartwarming. It’s inspiring to watch someone’s creativity unfold right before your eyes. Wilshire has had the privilege of worshiping with Medema many times, most recently during the celebration of George’s 30th anniversary as our senior pastor.

This semester I agreed to teach a course for the Garland School of Social Work at Baylor University on community-based social work. It’s my jam. I love the content, and I love teaching the content to up and coming graduates even more. My goal has been to get these students to reconsider going into clinical fields and instead joining me and others in congregations. It’s not going well, but it’s fun nonetheless. One of our revolving conversations is around how to engage in difficult conversations in a time where everything is so polarizing — something I know that we ourselves have continued to discuss.

So much of our liturgy can help us find answers to these tough questions, but hymns particularly can be so instructive. “Let Truth and Mercy Find Here,” today’s closing hymn, holds an answer, I think, to my students’ questions and maybe to our own. “Let mercy’s gentle manner, so willing to forgive, fill warring hearts with longing ‘til in truth’s light we live.” My heart so very often feels at war these days. Medema’s words provide a comfort in knowing that God’s mercy is gentle and therefore mine can be as well.

As we continue to live in days where peace and justice and truth and mercy no longer embrace, this morning our words declare the opposite. May our songs this morning be our prayer, and may our prayer be our guiding light as we move through conflict with curiosity and gentleness.