Jul23FriJuly 23, 2021
As I started doing last week, I’m continuing my use of this space to reflect on past ministry and different aspects of it that we have shared together over the years. In worship ministry, we have served together with many congregational members through various configurations of worship committees and worship teams and worship planning teams. Most of the worship teams/committees have worked hard over time to move into more and more participation by members in services, musically but also in litanies and prayers, from some of our youngest members participating to our oldest members. We have welcomed a variety of musical instruments beyond organ and piano, as instruments and musicians were available. Sometimes homegrown musicians move away or attend elsewhere. At this point, in current worship services we are rarely without a team of singers helping the rest of us in congregational singing. Dramatic readings, a few dramas and some multi-media presentations have become part of our worship where fitting.
Celebrating the Lord’s Supper has always been a meaningful act of worship among us. We experimented with frequency of our communion celebration, introducing a pattern of once a month, then going back to every other month and eventually settling into our present pattern of once a month. The worship committee introduced coming forward for communion, especially now treasured for Good Friday services. This method has become deeply meaningful as we come forward and hear the words, “.... the body of Christ given for you.” “... the blood of Christ shed for you.” For one of our evening services, I will never for-get how meaningful a celebration it was to gather at the front of the sanctuary, standing in a large circle and passing around the bread and the cup. Several years ago, the worship team helped the council and congregation sort through the issues and the denominational materials that encouraged churches to see in a fuller light the biblical perspective of having children and all baptized members participate. As we celebrated the grace of God through communion in community, we were encouraged to do so, ‘regardless of age or ability.’
Baptisms always have been a great joy to witness and administer. Most have been infant baptisms but there have been some older children and adult baptisms over the years. I recall once having to use my untouched glass of water as the water of baptism. We’ve sometimes encouraged siblings of infants being baptized to help the pastor pour water into the basin or had grandparents participate by reading parts of the liturgy. We’ve introduced the baptismal candle. For at least one baptismal candidate, although it never quite became reality, we had a serious discussion about being baptized through immersion, thinking of the baptismal language of Romans 6. That would have required some serious worship planning!
We’ve used many dramatic readings over the years and a few dramas and tried some multimedia. The worship team has introduced services like Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday (and its foot-washing and communion) and a time of candle-lighting during advent, remembering our grief and losses, especially of loved ones. We experimented with a few kinds of children’s messages. We’ve encouraged artists and banner-makers. During Profession of Faith services we have included personal testimonies, visuals, videos and video-greetings. Of course, as for most churches, the recent pandemic stretched our worship skills in technology and creativity to the maximum.
There is no way I can include or even recall everything about our worship ministry together. No doubt many wonderful worship moments have gone unmentioned but all those wonderful times can be remembered, celebrated and treasured from worship ministry together.—EGN
To access Pastor’s Eric’s regular COVID-19 MEDITA-TIONS, click here … http://www.bethel-crc.ca/blog/covid-19-meditations/