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Archive for October 8th, 2019

I read recently of a young woman, brought up in a home of atheists, who was inexplicably drawn to go to church. She choose her church according to what was comfortable for her. Then, alone one Sunday, with no knowledge of the practices that take place, she walked through the doors of a Christian mainline church.

She wrote of the experience that day as well as the experiences she had been experiencing for the months of attendance and participation.

This young woman found something else in going to church each week …

church provided a structure, a rhythm which gave her focus as she walked through a season of depression.

Those of us who have attended church for years may have forgotten this, we may even resent when the services are the same each week, feeling boredom over the same songs, the repeating of words or phrases, the mundane order of service, the practice of shaking hands as we enter or exit the sanctuary.

Jesus himself followed the church/synagog practices of his day, attending the synagog, recognizing the rhythm of the calendar, practicing prayer. He did not omit these rhythms and rituals from his daily life, but they are accounted in the Bible as a reminder to us that he has endorsed their value and their purpose.

Through the church calendar we are reminded that after forty years of wandering in the desert the Jews reached their promise land, that though the Israelites were being chased by the Egyptians … God opened up the Red Sea for them to pass through safely, that after the horrors of the crucifixion came Jesus rising from the dead, that the young (Mary, Timothy, etc.) and the old (Abraham, Anna, etc.) have roles to play in God’s plans.

We are also reminded through a call to worship and congregational response that we are not alone in our worship. That the repetition of the Lord’s prayer is a shared intimate act. That lifting our voices (no matter the individual musical quality) together makes a beautiful sound. That bowing in prayer for others who are sick, or around the world reminds us that we are all one in Christ.

The perspective of this woman helps me to see the rituals and rhythms, not as mundane, but meaningful.

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