As I have shared with many of you, I spent several years of my life without any involvement in church. When I made church a priority in my life, I was in my thirties. Gradually, over a period of months, I began to see my presence and participation in worship as central to my sense of purpose and meaning in life. My time in worship left me with a greater sense of gratitude and hope. Especially if I was having a bad week, the worship experience offered relief and perspective in the midst of my struggles.
I cannot remember much about the music, sermons, or types of prayers that I heard in worship during those years of my growing faith. I wonder if perhaps that is because meeting God in worship is not about remembering specific ideas and doctrines as much as it is about having the Holy Spirit reorient our worldview. When we see ourselves and other people as God sees us, we see past obstacles and failures. We open ourselves to miracles, and we recognize the image of God as we look in the mirror and as we greet our neighbors, both those whom we find easy to love and those whom we may label “extra grace required.”
As we celebrate Christmas this year and we anticipate a new year, it is a good time to ask ourselves how we experience God. Do we sense the presence of the Holy Spirit in our worship, and are we growing closer to Christ and to the people around us? May we pray for God to instill within us a love for God and a hunger to grow in faith in the new year.
Many people attend church at Christmas and Easter but do not see a need to worship throughout the year. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will work in the lives of those who worship this Christmas so that they have a desire to make it a habit in 2019. Please also look for new faces in worship and make hospitality a priority. Your greeting and warm welcome may be just what someone needs to experience the love of God.
Remember, we are all in ministry together, and together we are the hands and feet of Christ on earth! See you Sunday,