What is worship to you?
Why do you attend worship?
These were just two of the many questions that our pastor asked in church this morning as part of her challenging, thought provoking, and eloquent sermon. She had just finished explaining to our youngest children what frankincense was, as they gathered around the altar in the quietness, and smelled its sweetness, and watched as the smoke curled and climbed slowly up to the heavens.
Do we see the enormity of what we're doing here? She had asked the congregation later.
And I would guess that for most people, the answer to that would be no. After all, don't many of us come to worship because it is our weekly routine? For me, growing up as the daughter of a preacher, and then later being married to a pastor, attending worship every Sunday has been a weekly routine of mine all my life.
But while worship might sometimes be routine, it should never be mundane.
When we come to worship we choose to take our place in the ancient story that will reveal to us who we are, our pastor had said. Wow! You mean that I am part of God's ancient story? That I have a place at God's altar where incense rises like sweet perfume to God Almighty, the maker of the whole earth?
I do. You do. All of us have a place there. And so do each of our children.
Let us never attend worship to be entertained. Let us never attend worship because it is our routine. Let's attend worship ready to meet with the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent maker of the universe, who has a purpose for each one of us and whose earnest desire is to send us out into the world to be a light to those who walk in darkness.
And this is my prayer, for the little ones we bring to worship each week...that they might have a glimpse of the enormity of what we really do when we gather together as God's family, and know, deep within their being, as I suspect our children did this morning when they watched that sweet perfume rise, that, in the words of our pastor,
worship is a moment in time, a gift of God's grace shared by God's beloved....
that they are indeed part of God's ancient story that will slowly but surely reveal to them who they are.
Is this part of what your children take away from worship each week? And if not, how can we make that happen?