Preparing for Worship – Jenna Sullivan, pastoral resident.
Just the other day, a very dear friend of mine told me she was interested in learning more about “this Jesus guy.” My friend’s parents immigrated from China before she was born, and she was raised with a reverence for Buddhist principles. Our mutual love of yoga and meditation has created some interesting interfaith conversations. But I wasn’t prepared for this one. She told me that this year has revealed that something was missing in her spiritual practices. She wanted something to really believe in. A faith — even a solid certainty — that would help ground her in the midst of such a scary year.
The solid kind of faith she described appealed to me too. I laughed to myself as I struggled to articulate the basics of “this Jesus guy” and smiled at the evangelistic situation I never thought I would find myself in. How would I define our faith? What was most important to share? What could I leave out? What books would I pass on or what playlist should I create? Most of all, how should I begin to whisper the teachings of grace in my friend’s ear?
One thing that does set us apart as Christians from, say, Buddhists, is that we do worship God. We take time out of our busy schedules to practice honoring a Being much greater than us. This is foundational. This is important. We lean on God, turn off the news or Twitter feed, and we suspend our own seductive egos. We try to ignore our nagging egos for a whole hour — and boy, isn’t it tough? We let the spirit of Christ work on us once again. And if we are really present to this time of worship, we prepare to be formed into something new.
I wonder if, as you prepare to worship (yet again online — ugh!), you might remember when someone first told the sacred story of faith to you. I invite you to bring new, fresh eyes to this old tradition of worshiping. Don’t forget what a big deal it is indeed to sing songs of praise to an almighty, faithful and ever-present God.