By Jenna Sullivan, pastoral resident.
Being new to the Wilshire family, I am also new to the regular ritual of preparing for worship. Before COVID days, I suppose printing off a last-minute edit to my sermon and grabbing a donut was the extent of my contemplative preparation. Is the offering taken care of? What if that one weird mic stops working again? But I have a feeling that this Wilshire ritual is calling you and me to something different.
Maybe our weekly hour dedicated to praise, reflection, and transformation requires something of us, even in the moments before the hour is officially chimed. So, what is required of us?
In worship this Sunday morning, we will sing the hymn “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy.” In order to truly prepare for worship, we must attune ourselves once more to God’s reality — which is so different than our own.
In order to relax for a bit in God’s wide mercy, we may have to start letting go of our narrow judgment. And if we want a taste of Christ’s forgiveness, we may have to soften our grip on the pleasure of revenge. If we want to commune in the mystery of the Holy Spirit, we may have to let go of having all the answers. If we want a word of true comfort, even through the screen, we have to let go of our technology fatigue.
So much is different these days. I long to hear the organ in person for the first time and hear your voices lifted up in praise. But I have a feeling that God is still waiting for us. God will still show up.
And if God stays committed to showing up, we must commit to being prepared for this hour of worship. We must begin to let go of all that weighs down our hands so that we arrive to this hour of worship ready to receive. There is so much to receive from God. Perhaps if our hands are free enough, we will have room to carry away good news.