Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Written by Tim

I have had two weeks to think about worship…. and two weeks of struggling as to what to say. I have concluded that worship is just too big of a subject, so I will simply share a couple of thoughts that I have been chewing on…

Here’s one… people in our culture often ask, “Well, why should I even go to church?” Perhaps they rationalize by saying, “Well, I can worship anywhere - out in nature, at home, in the shower.” Or perhaps they say, “Church is boring.” Churches in the United States, on any given weekend, have about a third of their membership in worship. Some of those folks who don’t show up might be traveling or sick, but most have simply lost the priority of being a part of weekly worship. Why doesn’t one go to worship? Well, if the answer is sports, then I would say that sports is the priority. If the answer is “church is boring” then the maybe priority is entertainment.

To me the question really is “why not go to church?” While this is a bit self-serving - I am a pastor after all - I think going to weekly worship at with the gathered church is such and important rhythm to get into. It helps us each week to give glory to God, to hear the story of Jesus, and to refocus on the mission God gives us.

Every morning I am reminded of the delight that God takes in us worshipping. I have observed that as each one of my kids wake up in the morning on sabbatical, they don’t head right toward the kitchen to get food, or to the living room to turn on the TV, or even go to the bathroom. Rather, they come and find their parents and say, “Good morning! I love you!” There is nothing like this to start my day. It’s all I need to keep me going. In many ways, I think this is what people are doing when they gather together to worship God. In many ways, I wonder if God feels the same way as me… only more.

And one more thought… I also think that worship is not ever meant to be laborious. It really is meant to be an automatic response to God’s grace. For this reason worship isn’t just a “Sunday morning thing.” It is (and there are many words I can use here) a “lifestyle.” Jesus once said “those who have eyes to see let them see.” In my sabbatical rest, my eyes have been a bit more open to see the pervasive presence of God more often. I have been able to think a bit more about God’s incredible, abundant provision. It has caused moments of utter gratitude.

I was riding my bike out in the midst of the vineyards of the central coast. It was just me, my bike, and the birds and the grapes. A car couldn’t be spotted for miles. I thought of the Annie Dillard quote when she was out on stroll in Tinker Creek, “with every step one foot was saying ‘glory’ and the other was saying ‘amen!’” With every pedal one foot was saying “glory” and the other was say “amen.”

I have so many other thoughts about the great Catholic and Methodist churches at which we have worshipped, but I will spare you…for a time.

NOTE - We've had the great blessing of worshipping at the San Luis Obispo Mission where my brother, sister-in-law, and three nephews are members. They also joined us, along with my sister Judy who lives in nearby Shell Beach, when we worshipped at the Methodist Church where Chamie's friend and colleague, Rev. Jane Voigts, serves as pastor.

1 comment:

  1. I think you touched on an important aspect of worship. Showing up on Sunday to worship will be much more meaningful when you have the spontaneous worship on the bike during the week or even just the moments of gratitude. Then you have something to bring to worship which makes it more of a joy and less of a chore.


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