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Why go to worship?
This week, the answer is that worship gives us a little light to see by...

We circled in chairs on our patio under the stars. The porch light twinkled and a lone candle danced its flame. The air was warm, no trace of a breeze. Devin strummed her guitar. Like all good worship leaders do, her gorgeous voice sang with strength, but was not overbearing. Her voice invited other voices to join and together they blended into one united voice of joy and thanksgiving. Youth sang and clapped and smiled. The world felt simple and right, bigger and more beautiful. I felt for a moment that I was in a thin place, that place where the line between heaven and earth is so thin that you aren’t really sure where one begins and the other ends.

Every worship service doesn’t necessarily feel like a thin place. Sometimes it feels like another “to do” or a mere obligation

or boredom. Sometimes we don’t connect to a sermon or a song or the person beside us. But when worship becomes our default, the rhythm of life that we always fall back to, then we open ourselves to many more opportunities to find ourselves in a thin place.

Years ago, I was reading Anne Lamott’s book Traveling Mercies. In the chapter titled “Why I Make Sam Go to Church,” she described why she took her often begrudging son with her on Sunday mornings:

The main reason is that I want to give him what I found in the world, which is to say a path and a little light to see by. Most of the people I know who have what I want – which is to say, purpose, heart, balance, gratitude, joy – are people with a deep sense of spirituality. They are people in community, who pray, or practice their faith... they follow a brighter light than the glimmer of their own candle; they are part of something beautiful... When I was at the end of my rope, the people of St. Andrew tied a knot in it for me and helped me hold on. The church became my home in the old meaning of home – that it’s where, when you show up, they have to let you in. They let me in. They even said, “You come back now.”

Worship has, indeed, been a tied knot for me to hold onto, a saving grace that has given me breath and life. The weekly worship services of the community help me to live a life of daily worship where I can always find gifts and beauty, even on the days that are really, really hard. Worship reminds me of what is most important in life, what I am called to give worth to. In fact, the word “worship” comes from the Anglo Saxon word “woerthan” which means “to declare how much something is worth.”* When we worship, we remember how much God is worth and how much we are worth to God.

*For an entertaining and informative five-minute video on what worship is, check out this worship episode of Chuck Knows Church.

Written by Pastor Chamie Shelburne, Fall 2021

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