This is my first Sunday of my sabbatical (at least my first Sunday home). My husband and son continue to attend Sunday School at my congregation. But I’m faced with the question of where to worship. My husband tried to make suggestions–all of which I shot down. You see, I have a lot of anxiety about this.
I want to worship somewhere that inspires ideas for my own congregation–but I don’t want to sink into comparisons. I’m already doing so much of that I’m almost paralyzed. And I want something with liturgy–but I don’t want the same old, same old. I’ve seen enough of that. And I want to go someplace where I will feel welcome without being mauled. Someplace that is comfortable, yet open to new and unusual ideas. I want to go to places that exemplify what I hope my congregation can grow into.
And I’m setting myself and my congregation up for failure.
I understand the compulsion of so many people to just stay at home on Sunday morning. It’s easier. Find a quiet place–oh, the quiet is something I’ve yet to experience on this sabbatical. Find a place alone to pray. That’s what Jesus did, right? Just enjoy nature. Be with family. I get it, I really do. But that’s not worship. It’s so very important, but it’s not everything.
Worship isn’t about finding the right building in the right neighborhood with the right music and the right programs–inspiring without challenging, engaging without building relationship, perfectly balanced between old and new. No…worship isn’t about any of these things. It is the discomfort of sitting next to someone new and getting to know their story. It is singing a song you don’t know. It is muddling through the things that don’t go quite right, recognizing that the people behind them did their best. It is putting your best and your worst before God and one another and saying, “Here I am. This may not be how I would choose to do it. This may challenge my way of thinking. This may send me into full-blown criticism mode–about myself or about others. But it won’t be a waste of time.”
At a time in my life when I feel so very empty and lost, I suspect it doesn’t matter so much WHERE I go–just THAT I go. That I step out of myself and the comfort of my home and experience the world in all its fullness. That I quit making it about what I want and put myself into God’s hands–what does God want me to hear and know and experience today.
So…let’s go to worship.