You all did a great job last week with a different kind of service. I was proud of how well (and without pushback) everyone gathered in groups when you arrived to find the Sanctuary was arranged differently again!
And then I was even more encouraged after service when people remarked how they had found the sharing quite poignant and important. I take that to mean that people dared to share from their hearts. That’s when it gets holy. It’s also when it makes a difference – when you begin talking with one another about what really matters to you – that’s when we are strengthening relationships and building community.
I did hear that it was hard for some folks to hear others in the group, what with the ambient noise from the other groups sharing. I think I have an idea how we can make that better:
This Sunday, there will be a group of chairs placed back by the western narthex door so that when it comes to sharing, anyone who is struggling to hear in that group can simply move out to the U of pews where it will be much quieter and easier to hear one another.
This week our service is a similar format. These are our two Stewardship Sundays. (The next Sunday after that will already be the First Sunday of Advent).
I always hope and pray that each of you prepares for worship in some personal ways – even if it’s as simple as getting to church a few minutes early to visit with one another or spend time quietly by yourself in the Sanctuary. But others read the Scriptures in advance. Or make their own prayer lists. The simplest preparations can make such a difference compared to rushing in late, half dressed and realizing you left your checkbook at home!
This week, it occurred to me, I could give you “the sharing questions” in advance so that you might reflect on them beforehand, getting yourself ready for worship: Then even for the shy ones who don’t want to share, you too can participate.
At the Gathering Words
Share briefly a time when you did something overtly – EITHER that made you feel Christian OR because you are Christian.
At the Confession
What don’t you get done that you know you really should?
At the Stewardship Reflection
What is one thing you’d like Old First to commit to in the future (leaving aside the issue of housing for the homeless, since that is a mission that we are already pursuing)?
A bit of self-reflection can go a surprisingly long way. The second mile is when you share what you care about most or feel most deeply with others. See you in church.