How do we prepare for worship with a pandemic on, routines out of place, lots of folks — or not enough folks — underfoot, and America’s whiteness problem staring us straight in the face? That is the question we are facing today.
Except, are we reading this Saturday night, or Sunday morning, or next week after worship is already over when we have a little time to catch up on email? These are weird times, people, weird times.
And yet, worship happens.
According to Google, worship is “the feeling or expression of reverence toward a deity,” which is unsurprisingly broad. Each week we have this Preparing for worship column first in our worship folder to help us, well, get in the mood.
It is interesting to note that we need these worship prompts every week, even in “normal” times. My co-residents and I checked in with resident alum Annette Thornburg-Owen over Zoom this past week, and she said that the rhythms of the church year — our liturgical traditions like waiting in Advent, fasting in Lent, and burning stuff at Pentecost — are practice for when we need to do those things in real life. It might be a stretch, but maybe that applies to our little column here at the beginning of the worship folder.
We have been practicing for this.
We have been practicing the steps it takes to pull aside for worship, to tune our hearts to sing God’s praise even when we don’t feel like it. We have been practicing surrender to truth, to being willing to hear from God’s word, even when we’re feeling raw and unwilling to change. We have been practicing all along how to trust our God to meet us right where we are even when we don’t know where that is.
So here’s our prompt. Notice where you are and when you are. It does not matter if it is Sunday morning or those three minutes you have between Zoom calls; you are here wanting to worship. Notice that. Notice your breath.
You are alive. There’s that heartbeat, life pulsing through your veins. Indeed, you are fearfully and wonderfully made.
And I wonder who did that. I wonder who dreamed up your smile and the kind of thing that would make you laugh. I wonder who this very minute (whenever that is) is wooing you home, reminding you that you are wanted and prayed for and beloved.
Ready to worship?