Preparing for Worship – Scott Spreier.
I don’t know about you, but after the events of the recent past, I find preparing for worship requires some heavy lifting.
Paul, in today’s Epistle reading, tells the Ephesians to walk in the manner of their calling, with “all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
But how do we do that when anger and divisiveness fueled by false prophets of hate surround us? When public schools are transformed into killing fields? When “thoughts and prayers” becomes a hollow mantra?
And yet, if we’re patient, if we tightly grip even the thinnest threads of faith, I believe in times like these we can experience the love, the peace, the unity that Paul speaks of — moments when we know that all is well in our souls.
Over Memorial Day weekend, son Joel and I returned to the tiny Kansas community where I grew up. We visited several small area cemeteries: one where Joel’s namesake lies — a man who left his dying momma in Kentucky to head west for a better life; another where my great grandfather, who started life as a poor Scottish lad and ended it a wealthy farmer, is buried; a third, the resting place of my father’s ancestors, Germans who first fled to Russia, only to again seek refuge a century later in America.
Back home, we went to a memorial for the veterans of wars our country fought. As the names were read, I recognized a number of men and women who had nurtured me, taught and coached me, even cut my hair and served me ice cream.
Later, Joel and I reflected on this diverse community of saints that brought us where we are today — generations of individuals who, though often poor and powerless, had the humility, patience and faith to bravely venture forth, advancing our creator’s plan.
We also acknowledged that the real beauty is that it didn’t stop with them. Take this morning: when I look around this church, I see a community of saints who have taken up where our ancestors left off — faithful, forward-facing souls who trust that, despite how we might feel at this moment, a caring God is, with their help, still working his plan.
And then, suddenly, I’m ready for worship.