To Pause for Lent

dew on grassFriday, March 6, 2015

Psalm 19

The teaching of the Lord is perfect and revives the soul…

Last week at a first communion retreat I watched children gather around Pastor Sarah in the sanctuary to learn about the gift of a holy meal for faith and life. Not too far away their parents listened in and all together you could feel a wonder in the room for worship and learning. The retreat held during Lent seemed most fitting to the basic practices of our faith. On many levels these things are a constant and overtime shape our identity as God’s beloved.

More to be desired than gold, more than much fine gold, sweeter far than honey, than honey in the comb…

Experiences of worship that move us are sometimes beyond explanation. It may be a word spoken or sung; it may be prayer or a silence; it may be needed stillness or movement toward another. While worship takes focus on what happens in an hour on the weekend in the sanctuary, we realize that worship goes with us throughout the week among many and varied places and expressions. We find wonder in worship because we trust that we are met by the presence of God among us, engaged by the love of Christ before us.

Above all, keep your servant from presumptuous sins…

In the patterns and disciplines of our walk of faith we find ourselves led back to be together weekly simply because overtime the gathering is just something we do. We look forward to the encounters. Call it tradition or routine we realize that we are most often grateful for the opportunity. We are glad to share in a community of faith centered on God’s movement of mercy toward us over and over again.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight…

You may notice from time to time in my preaching or writing that I like to quote hymn texts. Maybe this is a reflection of my age, the amount of years I have been a pastor, and my need to search for words poetic and insightful beyond my own wisdom or experience. It makes me feel connected to something much greater than me – the witness of the church throughout the ages. There are worship moments when a phrase from a hymn will draw me into silence so I can be surrounded by the song of the congregation – and in and through it renewed in ways beyond my own best efforts.

Pastor Randy