9/15/19 – Preparing Yourself for Change – 1. Worship Style

Posted on : Sep 12th, 2019 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

When it comes to worship styles, ministers are like gay boys who have just bought their first home.  They can’t wait to start moving furniture, redecorating and in some cases tearing down walls.  We call that change.

As you prepare to welcome your new minister, you also need to be prepared for change.  One of those places of change will be in worship style.  So this Sunday I’m going to talk about changing styles of worship. 

Beginning with the 1960’s until just recently, our worship style has changed many, many times.  I want to share some of those changes with you so that you are aware of the changes we have made and so you can be open to the changes your new pastor will bring. 

Without a doubt, over the years our worship style has changed much more than any other church I know.  Some of those changes were easy and some of them were very hard.  What is important to know is that we always made changes to our worship style that would make worship more relevant to the spiritual needs of our current life situation, changes that would make worship more vibrant and inspirational, and changes that addressed the changing needs of young adults and those that would widen our inclusivity. 

In the wonderful story of Jesus encountering the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus and the unnamed woman enter into a conversation about an outrageously controversial issue:  where and how to worship.  The Samaritans were a sect of Judaism that broke off over this very issue.  Here is how the woman puts it to Jesus: “Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain (Mt. Gerizim), but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.”   The Samaritans believed that Mt. Gerizim was the right place of worship, since more than 3600 years ago, they came to live on Mount Gerizim because Moses, in his tenth commandment, ordered them to protect it as a sacred mountain and worship on it by making pilgrimages to it three times a year.  For the Jews, Jerusalem was the sacred place of worship.  That’s where they built two Temples and where they believed God dwelled.

With the wisdom of an international peacemaker, Jesus offers a new reality.  He was smart enough not to get into the fight over “who is right.”  He says, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship God neither on this mountain (Mt. Gerizim) nor Jerusalem…But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship God in spirit and truth…God is spirit, and those who worship God must worship in spirit and truth.” 

No matter how we worship or where we worship, our ultimate goal is to worship God in spirit and in truth.  To do that requires that we remain open to change, not for the sake of change itself, but to more authentically worship God in spirit and truthfully.

More on our ever-changing, yet inspiring worships style(s), on Sunday.

Blessings,

Dan

John 4: 3-24

Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard, “Jesus is making and baptizing more disciples than John” — although it was not Jesus himself but his disciples who baptized— Jesus left Judea and started back to Galilee.  But he had to go through Samaria.  So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.  Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.

A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.”  (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.)  The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.)  Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”  The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water?  Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his children and his flocks drank from it?”  Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.”  The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”

Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.”  The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!”  The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet.  Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain (Mt. Gerizim), but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.”  Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship God neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem…But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship God in spirit and truth, for that is the worship that God seeks.  God is spirit, and those who worship God must worship in spirit and truth.” 

 

 

 

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