Archive for January 2016

Chaotic Worship

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     He rushed up to the church platform in a state of urgency as service was beginning. "I forgot to share this Pastor Robbie." So I moved to the side and allowed him to share with our small congregation his prayer request, a prayer request that so compelled him to walk from the back of the sanctuary to the platform. 
     This might not seem like a huge moment, but for a 6th grade boy to feel so comfortable in our church, feels like a great victory to me. 
      Our inter-generational church is filled with moments like this. Moments of seeming interruption to our scheduled worship service.
      Several weeks ago, while I was preaching, my little goddaughter toddled up to me with veggie straws in hand, to share them with me, and I accepted, mid-sermon. 
     Last week the same boy who rushed to the front of the platform with his urgent prayer request, sat at the platform with his french horn in hand, and informed me he wished to share a song with the congregation. It wasn't planned or orchestrated, or asked for. It was just an earnest young heart seeking to share his gift with the congregation, and so we added it to the service. It may have been the high light of worship, watching this young heart worship in the way he knows how. Sharing his talent with his faith community. 
     People speak of their church as family all the time. It hearkens back years, to days we called each other brother and sister. In the church I grew up in, my sisters and I referred to the adults in the church as Uncle and Aunt. A place where we care for each other. Where there is space for another. Where we sacrifice for each other. That is the church. The family of God.
      Despite always hearing the language of family used, despite seeing it often in church's I've been a part of, I've never seen it more realized than I have in this small faith community of The Mission Church.
     There are so many interruptions, and sometimes I think people come in thinking it is chaos. Babies cry, toddlers toddle, a special needs high school girl spinning in circles as she stares into the sky, a 6th grader playing his instrument, kids asking to sit on the platform next to me during service (and I let them), kids laughing as they run up and down the stairs in epic games of hide and seek, the tinkling of the piano with tiny 2nd grade hands pressed to the keys.This is the stuff of our church, of our family. 
     Every time I feel the nagging that something might be a disruption, that having kids on the platform is not how things are done, that having toddlers toddle through aisles during service wouldn't happen somewhere else, I hear these words in the back of my mind "Let the little children come to me." and then I think, "we may not be a big church. We may not have a lot of money in the bank account. The heater in the basement might not work, and my hands might get frozen writing sermons in 40 degree temps. We might have lots of work to do, we might have ways to grow, there are so many things we can continue to do... but we are doing this right. If nothing else, we are doing this thing right. We are bringing the little children to him." 
      In the midst of the chaos and unplanned special musics, Jesus shows up in these amazing and unplanned ways. He shows up and I picture him with outstretched arms and smiles as he watches his children worship him the only way they know how, through their toddles, their cries, their dances, their prayers, and their seeming chaos. 
       My prayer is that I would worship more like them. With less regard for what others think, with more abandon and wonder, with every ounce of my talent, that I might share with the faith community whatever little I have, that they might be blessed, and that God might be glorified through me.