Preparing for Worship – Jenna Sullivan, pastoral resident.
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss to bear the dreadful curse for my soul? This rhetorical question grounds us in our season of Lent. We ask ourselves again and again, what love is this? What kind of love would pursue us eternally? What kind of love would put up with our grumpy moods and short attention spans? What kind of love would never give up on us?
The love of God. That is the love we are talking about. No other love can do that. Even the sweetest romantic ballad or the biggest bouquet of Valentine’s Day red roses could never compare with the agape love of God. It is such a powerful healing force.
Each week we gather to celebrate this love in a time of worship. This week we have weathered a storm. Some of us are a little weary from the blizzard and the chaos. We are chilled to the bone by the unpredictability of it all. We need a source of warmth that we can rely on. Now, more than ever, we need to cling to a love that endures forever. A wondrous love. A love whose power could never go out — even with rolling blackouts. A truly eternal love. What wondrous love is this?
This wondrous kind of love deserves our deepest attention. Today we gather together as a community to remember, celebrate and participate in the love of Christ. The season of Lent is not a time to feel ashamed of our sin or just brag on social media about giving up chocolate. It is so much more than that.
Here in this community, you are invited to discover what God is dying to give you — not just what God is asking you to give up. Don’t just give up a bad habit. Receive the gift of salvation. Repent. Return to love. This is what it means to worship. This is how we practice receiving wondrous love together.
I am certainly feeling the love of this community more and more. I am so encouraged by the ways you all show up for those in need — those most vulnerable among us. I saw this up close as the church became a refuge of warmth and safety. I know God is up to something here at Wilshire. I am grateful to be part of it. And I’m even more grateful for the God who binds us together in wondrous love.