why bother with church? – exhortation to worship leaders

“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. For everything in heaven and on earth is yours. Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom, and you are exalted as head over all.” 1 Chron. 29:11

Why do we come to church on Sunday mornings?  Why do we bother with all this work?

We do this because the powers that threaten us out in the world are real, they are powerful, they are overwhelming. Job experiences them (Job 3:1-26). He all but despairs—that is the thing, ALL BUT despairs. Why does he not completely give up? Why does he not curse God and die, as his friends recommend? Because he knows that his God is more powerful than any of the powers that are tormenting him. The mighty God we serve is the most potent force in the universe, stilling storms, healing the crippled, drawing fickle, divisive humans together, passing out his own self, his flesh, his Holy Spirit, to enliven us.

And that is why we are here this morning. That is why we come to church on Sunday mornings.

And do you know what you do? Each of you make it possible for us all to experience God, to be nourished by God’s Word and by Holy Communion. Think of this: long before Sunday, the communion vessels are cleaned, and linens ironed—the Altar Guild begins to set the table; just as God sets a table before us. Over the weekend, the Flower Guild work their magic with God’s beautiful creation, bringing reminders of God’s beauty and goodness right into our midst, adorning our mighty God’s throne, the altar, with those most beautiful things that he has given us—flowers and natural elements. Finally, early the week before, lectors are sent their reading assignments, they practice reading, they consider the passage’s meaning, that they might deliver it to us with faithfulness.

Then Sunday comes—early on the first day of the week, just the time when Mary Magdelene came to the tomb that fateful Sunday morning, many of us gather to prepare. Some come to greet and welcome God’s people into God’s own house, opening their arms to strangers and friends alike, just as the father did in the parable of the prodigal son–just as God does for us.  Others of us take up stations inside the doors to help make everyone comfortable, to keep everyone safe, and to watch for how to keep the focus on God, directing the movements of hundreds of people with quiet confidence and cool heads.

Still more of us are preparing in places outside the nave; putting on special clothes to remind us that we are undertaking a special and specific piece of work when “we go unto the altar of God,” as the psalmist puts it.  Acolytes carry torches and crosses, showing us how we are to carry God’s light and the power of the cross out into our everyday lives.  Eucharistic Ministers and Eucharistic Visitors help everyone to get their nourishment through Jesus’ body and blood.

We are all parts of the body, doing different jobs, all toward one end–helping each other toward the foot of the cross, toward the Bread of Life, which Jesus explains in the reading from John’s Gospel (6:41-51).  This is our hope.  This is our salvation.

Thank you for your willingness to be vessels of God’s grace; to allow God’s love–the most powerful thing–to flow through you in service.  May we have the courage to continue to follow where God leads us, trusting that He is our salvation and nourishment, the most potent force in the universe.

What a mighty God we serve!

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