Preparing for Worship – Leanna Coyle-Carr, pastoral resident.
Life is springing up all around us. Have you seen the blossoming trees or smelled the scrumptious honeysuckle? What joy! Of course, that means that not just a few of us are sniffling and sneezing in the wake of all that goodness. New life comes with all kinds of side effects, be it allergies due to pollen, sleepless nights with a newborn, or downright discombobulating awe when your life takes a turn — even for the good.
We come to worship this week after more than a year of really hard living, and perhaps we can sense a transition on the horizon. More and more people have been vaccinated. Families and friends are cautiously reuniting. States and municipalities are starting to carefully (or not so carefully) reopen. Even our church has its sights on in-person indoor services in a matter of weeks. This is new and different. Here in the Easter season, new life is buzzing with a palpable bit of hope.
Let us not forget to anticipate the side effects, though. As we prepare our hearts, souls, minds, and bodies for worship, I wonder how we might bring God both our high hopes of the season and all of its side effects, too. Our minds can wondrously imagine the return to life together out of isolation, but our bodies know what we all just went through. That is holy knowing, beloveds. Preparing for worship in the fullest sense means using that knowledge. It means gathering up our whole selves in offering to God. It means pulling out all of our dreams and all of our fears, collecting all of our strengths and all of our sores, and offering ourselves to be tended and transformed by the arms of grace.
Worship is an honest act. It cannot be done any other way.
With new life catching our eye (and perhaps making it itchy), let us not lose sight of the entirety of our sacred and embodied existence.
We are both joyful and aching. We are excited and scared. We are ready and we are hesitant.
This is new life. It is good and it will challenge us in ways we do not always expect. So let us turn to its Maker. Let us walk in step with the Firstborn of this New Creation. Let us give our entire selves in worship to the One who makes us whole.