Aug. 5, 2015

Where is the Holy Spirit in Sunday Morning Worship?

Musings on a Sunday morning after a very stirring sermon, some amazing pie charts/bar graphs, and the incredible voice and piano wonderment that all led into remembering the beyond words Love and Sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

I wonder sometimes if the Holy Spirit is asleep.  Or do we have Her locked in a closet somewhere?  Might she be downstairs or has She left the building?  On Sunday mornings it seems to me that often some pretty amazing things happen in our sanctuary.  Powerful things are said, heard, shared, witnessed, sung, seen, experienced and yet if it is not scripted in the written Order of Service/Worship Guide/bulletin then we sit silent in the pews like the crowd in a bar’s reaction to an unfunny comedian.  

Any fingers I might point of course, turn immediately back at me because I am there watching, listening, seeing, browsing through the announcements, checking out the prayer concerns, like everyone else.  A lot of times I really, really, really, want to respond visibly/audibly/physically but am frozen for some reason, able to barely murmur an Amen after some powerful music is shared.  I get annoyed and irritated, and ashamed as I sit there frozen, hating the silence for what it doesn’t offer to the One we are worshipping.  I am scared of course, held back by social convention and peer pressure and, and, and, …

When did the role of those in the pews during Worship become so much like that of polite people in a bad piece of theater?  

I have lately come to seriously dislike “responsive” readings, written out prayers and maybe even  liturgy if it is scripted for me.  If I weren’t such a cranky person I might find ways to let those words written by another person but read by the group as a whole serve to unite myself with those around me.  They could be a means of connecting us all as the Body of Christ.  But no-o-o-o, I have to read the words and complain in my brain about how they are not my words, do not fit me in that moment, and so I pout a bit as I mindlessly let my voice join what I hear as a communal drone..

Where is the Holy Spirit?  Where is my own spirit?  If I somehow broke the shackles that keep me pinned and silent I know I would be so self conscious and so full of second guesses I probably would not find that authentic, spontaneous, powerful heart movement I think I am looking to find as Worship.  Sigh.  Although I hate stereotypes I wonder if I would like worship in primarily Black churches.  But even in that setting because of my gift of complaint, criticism, and never being satisfied I am likely to quickly discover new things which I do not like.




Holy Spirit I honestly hope You will help loosen my heart, shut up my inner voice of criticism and complaint, and simply sweep me into moments of deep, honest, real worship however that might look.  Worship which honors the One who is Creator, Ruler, Saviour of the Universe.  Worship which celebrates all that has been done and can be done when we humans are open  and willing to be moved by You.  Worship which comforts me, challenges me, inspires me, teaches me.  Worship which changes my focus from me to Jesus and to all of the ones for whom Jesus loves and cares. Worship like David knew when he danced naked before God.  

Oh Jesus, on Sunday mornings in that sanctuary I hear and see and know and experience amazingly powerful stuff, why am I so stuck in my response then and when I leave the building?    Holy Spirit, please move within me, please move through me.  

Maybe this week you will help me say it out loud even!


In Jesus’ name