Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Grace and Worship

I was looking through blogs today, and read one my Gordon Atkinson. Gordon was a pastor at a church, but has in the last year or so changed positions. He was visiting an Episcopal Church and had this experience (that's a link called Finding Grace).

This week I was talking to a group of people about an upcoming event. Their feeling was -- and I'm really paraphrasing -- that people who didn't know how to raise their hands in praise of God during worship wouldn't really be interested in coming. And I got the feeling that they wouldn't be missed.

I belong to a church whose members rarely raise their hands in praise of God during worship. Not that I'm a "hand-raiser" either, but I've done some complaining about the traditional style of worship practiced for the most part in my church. I've been hurt by some of the comments about alternative worship practices, and how they aren't "real worship."

To be honest, at that moment, I realized that we all have some "stubbornness" when it comes to worship. We believe our way of praising God is the only "real worship." In that moment, I felt protective and loving of my church family, even the ones who only like organ and think clapping is a secular nastiness in worship. I love them anyway, and hope I can be less judgmental toward them when it comes to worship style.

I need more grace.

To quote Gordon, as he explained what God was revealing to him:
Gordon, these are my beloved children. They are my Church, and you are being very unkind to them. They are here, broken and wounded as you are, seeking to grow, seeking to become and be the body of Christ, seeking to be made into a new creation in my image. And look at my servant Jane. How she loves them. How she believes in them. How passionately she teaches the gospel to them. If Jane believes in them and I believe in them, perhaps you could believe in them too.

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