2010-05-14 / Church

Minister’s Message What Is Worship?

By Rev. Linda O’Neal (a Grandmother) of Lexington and Blue United Methodist Churches

“I don’t feel like I have had a worship experience,” an older woman said of a church service. The youth led the music. They had drums and guitars and sang the same lyrics over and over again. Some people clapped their hands. People were standing up for twenty solid minutes. The somewhat youthful pastor gave an interactive sermon and some of the people spoke out during the sermon! The woman who complained is the same lady who complains that she cannot get her grandchildren to come to church.

Yet her soul needs comfort and rest. She is closer to death than her grandchildren and church means a lot to her. She often talks about how much more difficult it is to get through the week when she misses church for some reason. She really needs church, yet her knees won’t take standing for twenty minutes.

What would it be like to travel through time back to Galilee two thousand years ago and to sit on the hillside with the crowd while Jesus gives his Sermon on the Mount and then feeds the five thousand with five loaves and two fishes? Wouldn’t that be marvelous?

Or would it be incomprehensible because Jesus would be speaking in Aramaic? Would it be really hot? Would the gathered crowd smell really badly? (People sure didn’t bathe every day back then.) Would we find the dried fish or the barley loaves tasty? Would we be surprised that the dark, swarthy, Arab looking man was our Jesus?

Sitting on the hillside during the Sermon on the Mount would nevertheless be very inspiring. We know what Jesus said by heart, anyway. We could experience seeing the looks on the faces of the people in the crowd: their concentration as they listened; the looks of awe and surprise as Jesus said something profound; the looks of gratitude and amazement as they took the food out of the overflowing baskets. There would be tears in people’s eyes. They would be murmuring excitedly to each other. And we would actually be seeing Jesus! In the flesh! It would be awesome, wouldn’t it?

Is it worship when we see Jesus in the face of someone playing a guitar and loving God with all his heart? Most grandparents would gladly die to save their grandchildren, but complain about making sacrifices to get them into church. There are ear plugs and who says one has to stand? Go ahead and sit down, plug your ears, and look at the faces around you. Do you see Jesus? Is Jesus going to be alive and well in the hearts of our young people? Is that worthy of praise? Grandparents will sit for hours in the miserable heat or bitter cold on wooden bleachers to watch their grandchildren’s sporting events. Maybe we grandparents can sacrifice some comfort in church for the sake of our grandchildren’s souls. After all, we really want them to come meet us in heaven some day.

Editors note: Rev. Linda O’Neal will be leaving Lexington soon and we thank her for sharing her message here in the Leader. We will miss her. She is going to a church in League City to be closer to her grandchildren. The best to you and your family.

The Lexington Ministerial Alliance is coordinating these Minister’s Messages. Any pastor in the

Alliance may submit an article. Please email your article to Rev. Linda O’Neal,

the Alliance secretary at mchurch@reveillebroadband.com

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