The Divine Mystery exists in each of us. We are Stewards of that Mystery.
During church services on Sunday mornings in the month of October, we will have meditations offered by members of our parish community on the four cornerstones: Worship, Seek, Serve, and Give. This morning, Youth Minister Leah Romanelli offered this meditation on Worship.
So I have two stories to share. When I was in college, I had a mentor named Timothy. Timothy is the reason I pursued ministry as a career. He is also an extremely gifted musician — he won a full ride to Julliard, although he chose, in the end, to go to Grinnell. One evening, we had a meeting in the chapel on campus, and when I entered the sanctuary, Timothy was playing at the grand piano by the altar, much like here. Several minutes passed before he finished and I asked, “So were you practicing for something?” No. “Composing?” No. Timothy likes to be mysterious. “Praying? Thinking? De-stressing?” No. No. No. I got clever. “So what were you playing?” Nothing. I never got an answer out of Timothy and this conversation bugged me for months. But thinking back on it, and knowing Timothy better all these years later, I know what he was doing: Worshiping. He was sitting in the presence of God.
So what I want to say today about worship and how Christ church helps us do it, is this: Worship is more than 60-90 minutes on Sunday. Worship is a way of living our lives. Worship is acknowledging and sitting with God in the moment. Like Timothy.
I was an English major, so I’ll phrase it another way (and yes, I know I’m breaking some grammatical rules to make a point): worship is a noun (We attend worship) and an action verb (We worship God). But I would like to propose that it is also a state-of-being verb, a verb that describes our existence.
Because in the end, all places and all moments are holy. We just tend to brush through them. One of my favorite poets, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, says it this way: “Earth’s crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God: But only he who sees takes off his shoes.”
Christ Church helps us remember to untie our laces.
Taking it a little further, if I’ve met you, I’ve probably talked your ear off about my rescue dog. I decided this was a good illustration for our St. Francis pet-blessing Sunday. My dog’s name is Karou and she is the sweetest little dog in the world. When I first got her back in January, though, she was in a constant state of worry and fear. She didn’t trust anyone, she didn’t know how to make friends with people or animals. Then we started our lessons. And I learned a few things. For instance: did you know that it takes often more than a solid year of imprinting with your dog before it responds to your voice not because of what it will get from you, but because it loves you? I’ve had Karou for about nine months, and I will say that as she has learned my voice and come to trust me, she has become more confidant, more trusting, more social, adventurous, energetic, goofy…more herself. Do you see where I’m going with this? There are worse things than being compared to a dog.
The church is where we learn to hear God’s voice and to respond not because of what we’ll get out of it, but because we love our Creator. The church is where God and this faith family bring out the best in ourselves. That is an act of worship.
Going back to my first illustration, the church is to us what the piano is to Timothy: a focusing tool, an instrument of worship, the action verb.
We say we celebrate the Eucharist for a reason. Every Sunday is a celebration day where we’re refocused on God, we’re with our faith family, we’re learning to respond to God’s voice, and in the end, we’re ready to go back into the world and recognize the holiness of our ordinary, daily lives.
Visit our Staff page to learn more about Leah Romanelli.