Preparing for Worship – Heather Mustain, associate pastor.
This past Sunday evening, I tuned into Nevertheless She Preached, a multi-day preaching conference celebrating the voices of women in the pulpit — a conference Wilshire proudly supports. I made it just in time to hear the facilitator ask a panel full of diverse and powerful women this question: what is your personal model of freedom? In other words, how do you move unrestrained in spaces that, at times, are full of animosity towards your very existence?
The words that followed were packed with truth and power and came from souls that had been truly liberated. These women shared stories of single mothers who went against the tide and fathers who empowered despite. They recollected the stories of their ancestors who never limited their power, but only affirmed it.
This collective time of remembrance and sharing things of old empowered both panelist and viewer alike; in fact, distance and technology could not take an ounce of sanctity that space contained.
And during a time for me when despair lurks around every corner, this conversation gave me life. It gave me permission to pause and remember my own continuous movement to live unrestrained and fully free.
The call to remembrance permeates our holy Scriptures. God calls the people over and over again to remember, and as they do, it leads to repentance, collective responsibility, hope and joy. Remembering is holy and sacred work, but it cannot be done without pausing. In a world that is literally on fire, pausing takes concentrated effort. Rushing from activity to activity is a tactic I often employ to avoid and deny. And in true confession, I’ve allowed even the sacred act of remembering to stir within me fear instead of freedom. Last Sunday evening reminded me that I need to pause and remember that the God I love is “our help in ages past, our hope for years to come.”
Maybe like me today your spirit is in need of this sacred work. If so, I invite you to breathe deep and allow your mind and body to pause as you prepare yourself for worship.
And as we sing, pray and proclaim together, I pray that these sacred acts of remembrance will lead you to your own experience of freedom.