Maybe it was part of my upbringing, but I enjoy a good sermon and a little hoot and hollering in church, every once in a while. As a young child, occassionaly our family’s housekeeper babysat my sister Patti and me over night, and then on Sunday morning take us to the “country” to “her church.” I don’t remember a word of the sermon or exactly the “Order of Service,” but I remember the singing and the unbelievable joy that was all around me. There was certainly some “hoot and hollering” going on.
You know you are going to get a good sermon from Luis at St. John’s, and every now and then Luis invited Peter Goines to St. Johns to teach our stodgy congregation some gospel music and learn about the Balm of Gilead. Suzy has taught me that wonderful hymns can make up for a lot on Sunday morning.
So I’ve been thinking a lot about my boyhood joy, and how fortunate I have been in where I worshiped over the years. I seldom attended as service, where I left church with a lot of guilt loading me down. It seems as though there are two ways of worshipping God. One is to serve others and, doing things for God or his children. We can feed his flock, care for his people, or carry his message around. The second way is to sing songs, create beautiful things, talk to him, and make a little bit of foolishness – in other words make God smile and laugh. For sure when he hears me sing, he laughs.
Whether it’s at an Episcopal service, a Quaker meeting, a Pentecostal gathering, or Catholic High Mass we worship God when there is a little joy and foolishness in the gathering. Otherwise we would be better of worshiping, by doing something useful.
Every person has their own view on what should go on during worship. I suspect there is no wrong way, but give me some fine music and a fine sermon, and I have had a little glimpse of heaven.