As the Director of Music at St. Peter’s, I feel called to help foster congregational singing and music-making to help people pray, praise, and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. So, I’m always interested in helping people see the depths of worship and how it connects to many aspects of our lives as Christians.
First, we come to worship to praise God. God created the entire universe from the biggest galaxies to the tiniest speck of matter. God also chose to come to earth in the human form, died on a cross, and was raised again to eternal life, demonstrating God’s immense love for humanity. We praise God during worship, but we also try to live lives of praise. Giving thanks for all of creation and for the restorative power of God’s grace might mean we are freed to live in true community with one another.
We also come to worship to pray. Of course, prayer is about much more than asking God for things. Prayer is about asking God over and over to form us as God’s people. We ask God to show us how to be a support to those in need and how to live life together. We pray to God in the hope that we might be changed for the better as God continues to work through us. Prayer incites us to perform acts in service of our neighbors.
We also come to worship to proclaim Christ. We proclaim Jesus as the one who fulfills all the prophecies of God. Jesus is the one who completed the great story of grace. Jesus has shown us the way, the truth, and the life for all of God’s children. We proclaim all these things at worship, but we also try to teach the world about Jesus’s love. Through the readings we hear, the sermons offered by our faith leaders, and the songs we sing we build each other up in the knowledge of Jesus’s triumph over death.
Cosmic salvation aside, worship is about the little things. A small word of peace shared with one another is just a rehearsal for those moments when we need to practice great reconciliations. The bread and wine broken and poured out for us is a small sign of God’s amazing grace shown through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. A little splash of water reminds us that we are baptized into Christ’s death, therefore we are baptized into Christ’s resurrection. Small actions ripple outward and what we do on Sunday morning can have a chain reaction effect on the world around us.
This fall, I invite you to pay attention to the little details of worship and think about how they might fit together with the mission of the church of Jesus Christ. Perhaps you’ll notice something that no one else ever has. Share these moments with one another and continue to build one another up in love and faithfulness.