Worship Practice

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!

As the season of Easter winds down and the summer months approach, our minds turn to our summer breaks. Over the summer we go on vacations to exotic, or not so exotic, places and we get a chance to slow down. Of course, the work of salvation never ends, and we are always tasked with the work of sharing the good news. I would argue this kind of work is best viewed as a practice, rather than yet another thing to be checked off a to-do list.

We live in a to-do list culture.

Grocery lists, children’s activities, household chores, and job responsibilities often get boiled down to succinct lists. Sometimes, I even make lists of my lists! I derive great satisfaction from keeping to-do lists up to date. It’s all too easy to let this type of completionism creep into our faith lives as well.

  • Go to church ✔
  • Sing hymns ✔
  • Hear the word of God in worship ✔
  • Take communion ✔
  • Tell someone about Jesus ✔

I don’t know about you, but I feel immensely satisfied looking at a complete list such as this one. Yet, this work is never really finished; we always need to be reminded of God’s grace and we are called to share God’s love with all of God’s people (hint: that’s everyone).

It may be easiest to think of our faith not as a list of things to do, but a practice into which we enter.

In the same way we keep exercise routines, or that doctors practice their healing arts, or maybe that your kids go to soccer practice, we practice our worship every time we come to church. Maybe sometimes we aren’t quite paying attention to this or that prayer; maybe sometimes we discover a new turn of phrase in what we thought was a familiar hymn. Practicing worship is paying attention to what we’re doing and refining our thoughts and actions to reflect God’s love shown to us in the message of Christ’s love on the cross.

We who plan and lead worship must practice worship too!

Perhaps obviously we practice notes and rhythms to make music. More than that, we practice crafting bulletins that guide worshipers through a service, practice crafting services that demonstrate God’s love, practice reading out loud from the Bible to share God’s word, and so on. The practice of worship is an ongoing task we all take up as a community of believers.

And so, take some time this upcoming summer to practice focusing your mind and body on worship. Maybe you can take a chance to practice your worship in different communities as you travel. You may learn something that will benefit the whole community! Above all, may God’s peace extend to you in these days and forevermore.

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Dr. Adam Lefever Hughes

Director of Music

Adam served as Director of Music at St. Peter’s from 2015 to 2022.

One comment

  1. I’m a student in the summer Master of Arts in Church Music program in Columbus, OH. I’ll be there for three weeks and one of my favorite things about this time is “practicing worship” in new places. I enjoy learning from what other cantors/organists/choir directors/church musicians do.

    I wonder where I’ll end up worshiping this year! I’m always looking for something to “bring home.”

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