Wednesday, March 5, 2008

the worship thing

So I was chatting about leading worship with a friend (she leads not me) and she was talking about a disconnect with the way she is involved. It occurred to me through this conversation that I am not really involved in leading worship at all. I went to Seminary to learn how to be a minister and I am not that connected with the traditional evangelical style of church. When I do attend a worship service it is Greek Orthodox liturgy on Sundays. 

My spiritual walk is not lessened by my lack of attendance in music based worship services. My worship is not lessened by the fact that I am constantly trying to keep up and read along at the Orthodox service. For a very long time in my life I have been compelled to believe that worship really has very little to do with singing. I love singing, but I painted a wall today at a center that helps the homeless. I worshipped today. I have not attended a protestant service in months. I am still baptist somewhere in my heart of hearts, but I don't think that I have worshiped in a baptist church through the norms of a worship service in years, even as I have maintained attendance and participation. 

I loved my church in Waco. We went through allot together. The leadership is amazing. Ben, Josh, John Mark all bring joy to my soul. Dave is a wonderful worship leader. The music was always well done, but that was not the part of it that made me come back each week. I went for the community there. My church was not the building were we gathered, this was proven for the year we couldn't even go inside. My church was all around me everyday in the relationships I had. Worship was the life I lived to connect with God.

I don't really attend church much anymore. I am experimenting with going to the Orthodox church, and I love it. But that does not create warm feelings inside me. In fact there is really nothing about following Christ right now that creates emotional highs for me these days and it has been this way for years. I follow Christ because He loves me and has invited me into a way of life that is powerful beyond my own understanding. I am living out Church right now in my life in amazing ways. 

It is scary to me at times. I remember growing up how much we all looked down on people that didn't attend church. I want to lead others in following Christ and I am not attending church. I don't sing worship songs (when I do they are Crowder songs and I sing them more because I miss waco than anything else). But this is an exciting time. I am in community with others who are seeking to follow Christ and we don't have the crutch of a Sunday gathering, we have to push into community and make it happen. I don't have the pep talk of a Sunday service and I don't have the rush of good music set to get me through the week. Once upon a time I would have looked at someone like me and worried about their soul. I would have been sad for them that they have turned from God. 

My soul is more alert to God than it has been in a while. I am more fully obedient than I have been in my memory. I am a living part of the body of Christ that is the Church, I just don't spend much time in the building anymore. It is a crazy thing to step out of the building and try to figure out Church without the walls, and the classes. I miss working the nursery. I miss teaching Hannah in Sunday school. I miss the hugs during the obligatory baptist greeting time. But Is that what we were called to when we were called to be the Church? Is that worship? What does any of that have to do with singing?  

I love the Church. I think she is broken and hurting but she is also loving and life giving. I am not on break form the Church, I am just living it out in a different way. I hope that this is pleasing to the Lord above all else. I am seeking to live out religion that God loves. Maybe someday I will take my MDiv and work on a Church staff. But for right now I have to say that it is very liberating to not have to be anywhere on Sunday morning.

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