I Was Glad When They Said unto Me…

Since its infancy the Church has gathered for worship, sometimes under threat of great danger and persecution. At Trinity Lakeside our shared way of life orients around three essentials: corporate worship, prayer and care of souls. These three are meant to be the ordering practices, the structure around which the rest of life falls. It takes time to order our life in this way, and we are not there yet. As a fledgling community, we continue to discover and live into the possibilities of these three life-giving and transforming practices.

These last two years have turned all our lives upside down. One of the many affected areas is that of corporate worship. During the pandemic churches have sought creative and thoughtful ways to worship together. Along the way the Board and I have prayerfully taken whatever precautions felt appropriate—whether distancing, masks, or adjusting the ways in which we distribute and receive the sacrament of Holy Communion. At this point, all are welcome to join us for worship at the Abbey, with or without a mask. And we continue our modified way of distributing and receiving the sacrament.

There are many reasons why worship is so essential. At its simplest, God created us to worship him. Worship is in our DNA, if you will. As fallen humans we sometimes worship things we were not meant to worship, but when we worship God we discover our deepest joy, our truest vocation, our first love. Worshiping God is our joyful vocation because God, in all his beauty, goodness and truth, is worthy of our worship. And he delights in our praise, freely given from the heart.

We worship God in this life because much of day to day life forms us not toward our first love, but toward the loves and desires of the world. James K. A. Smith notes, “Christian worship is essentially a counter formation to those rival liturgies we are often immersed in–cultural practices that covertly capture our loves and longing.” Gathering to worship week after week, year after year, forms us toward the loves and longings of our God and his kingdom.

In the act of corporate worship, God is doing something in us not only as individuals, but as a community. As we worship, God draws us together as brothers and sisters in Christ—a rich complexity of unity and diversity in the Spirit. As we worship, we discover that our individual stories are part of God’s greater Story. As we worship, God shapes us into his collective people–one body, one Lord, one hope.

As Anglicans, our weekly worship takes unique form, flowing from Word and prayer, to sacrament and sending. In our shared worship we become one as we sing and speak God’s praises, as we remember God’s story of loving the world as told in Scripture. We become one as we profess our shared faith in the ancient creeds, as we pray and intercede together for Church and world, neighbors and families. We become one as we join in thanksgiving to receive the nourishment of the sacrament of Holy Communion.

Having shared these things, together we pray, “Father, send us out to do the work you have given us to do.” Having experienced the oneness of his Spirit in and among us, having received the strength and nourishment of our fellowship with God and one another, God sends us back into the world for another week to make the world a visible place of his goodness and glory. In truth our experiences of corporate worship touch every aspect of our life. That is the invitation which God holds before us as we come together in worship. Click here for more on worshiping with Trinity Lakeside.

Published by Rev. Dr. Markene

ACNA priest, spiritual director and author

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