[Image from mbcc worship: sculpey, journals, pipe-cleaners and coffee]
While I do enjoy worshiping with various congregations throughout my travels, I do miss worshiping with the community that I serve, Mission Bay Communion Church. There is so much I miss about worshiping with this group of folks and after a few weeks away, I have a tad bit of withdrawal from our particular congregational culture. I make no apologies about loving to worship with the congregation I serve as I know not everyone can say this is the case for their church. I am grateful beyond words.
During the past few months at MBCC we have been integrating new spiritual disciplines into our worship services that have been particularly life-giving. For those of you who have never been to MBCC, it is a pretty adaptable group of folks when it comes to pretty much everything including worship. While abundantly reformed in structure and content, over the years elements of worship have included interviews, lego stations, clay, sculpey, live mural painting, cooking, community prayer creation, live blogging, journaling and yes, twittering. The past few months we have done a few other interesting things that have felt pretty good:
- Weekly Communion – I just adore weekly communion. I think there is something powerful about coming to the table each week. We may do it differently each time, but the idea that we return to the bread and cup each week has been meaningful. I think communion is such an amazing opportunity to remind the community what our faith is about and to invite visitors to enter into the journey of faith.
- Reflection Stations – As we had Communion each week, we have also added some stations to allow folks to keep moving during the reflection time after the sermon/conversation. This usually included Communion, a prayer/candle station, offering station and stations of cross art throughout the sanctuary. Folks were also invited to journal, sing along with the band, twitter or simply pray. Over the summer we won’t do Communion, but we will add some others stations, maybe an anointing or art station. We shall see.
- Actual silence – The most interesting thing that we did during Lent and have continued is to take time for silence. With our daily lives as crazy as it is, what better way to acknowledge that fact than with intentional silence. And no, not the kind of silence that has background music, but actual uncomfortable sitting with only your breath and God to speak to you. During Lent we got up to about 15 minutes and since then we do about 2-3 minutes after each scripture reading. I would like us to do more, but baby steps. We as worship leaders are so concerned and uncomfortable with “dead time” during worship that inviting the silence is a good way for folks to become more comfortable with the movement of the Spirit. And I often say by way of introduction, “We [meaning I] may not like the discomfort that silence creates, but we need it.”
Feel free to check out our summer order of worship if you want to know more, but what I want to know is, what excites you about your worshiping experience? What brings you joy, healing, laughter and life within the context of your worship experiences? The breadth of the ways people connect to and worship God amazes me. So . . . if you want to complain, feel free, but only if you follow it up with, “But I also really connect to God when we . . .” Deal?
So what about your worship experience gives you life and brings you joy?