Reflecting on Worship Changes

Worship Changes to Strengthen Community

For this week’s worship service, there will be some small changes with the potential to impact how we are together in community.  As I am fond of saying:  Worship is a celebration of Life and Community.  To understand this, it’s helpful to remember that “community” is not just a word describing a group of people – for people joined in faith, “community” also describes the essence of how we are connected.  …. And in weekly worship we come together for a moment of shared experience – a time of connection.

First:  The worship element of “Joys and Concerns” will be restored to the service, as members will be invited to offer a brief sharing of important personal news.   When such an offering is given within a worship setting, it is an opportunity for honoring the sacred within us and within each other.  For members to feel safe to publicly share sensitive information, we need to offer them our attention with loving acceptance and we need to keep our hearts open to listen to the thread of our humanity.

We also need trust:  when there is occasion for us to individually share what is on our heart and we offer our news just briefly, we demonstrate our faith in others to seek us out for the larger story and to connect with us for a deeper understanding.

…..which brings us to the

Second worship change will include a change in the text of our closing words.  It is hoped that, as we say the words, we will be reminding ourselves of the sacred task of growing community with each other and the larger world.  For growing our hearts, this is a wonderful opportunity to be welcoming to guests, to newcomers, and to those whom we don’t know well.   As we greet one another intentionally and with care, we are spreading the experience of worship into our journeys…..  a celebration of each other’s journeys….  a celebration of community.  This becomes a time to offer and receive care

Part of our statement of purpose, “devotion to each other,” reminds us that we are to be actively engaged in nurturing our understanding and capacity for communal care.  Possibly these new changes will help us reflect on making this part of our journey.

In faith,

M.E. Tanabe

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