Getting ready for Sunday means different things to the people in the Church. For Sunday School teachers and Preachers, it is a time of reviewing content and keeping the SundaySchool Students/Congregation in their prayers. For Choir members, it is practicing Sunday's Anthem. For Organists it is a time of practicing and remembering that there is no Bflat on a certain hymn :) For those of us in the pew, we prepare our hearts for the Word of God and come before God with great joy in being able to Worship. Aaaah, Sunday. A time of refreshment and renewal in God!
But sometimes it is difficult to worship. Whether it be because of the bad theology that one hears from the pulpit or a snide comment someone made about the work you do (or don't do) in the Church. Or the Worship leaders have forgotten to step back and let Christ step forward. The very essence of Worship is when Worship Leaders and Ministers remember to step out of the way and let Jesus step forward. It is difficult to explain but when one hears, "Join ME in singing" or "Join ME in Prayer" that is not stepping out of the way. To have Jesus step forward is as simple as saying "Join US in singing" or "Let us join together in Prayer". Or the Choir has a really off day and has had really off days for the last month. Then we get anxious and greatly saddened. How can we continue to worship when we are frustrated, sad, and disappointed?
That is when we need to remember that worship is adoration and thanksgiving to God. Find one thing that will bring God joy during Worship on Sunday... and you will find that it brings you joy too. Whether it be saying a short prayer during the time the Minister blunders yet again through the Scripture readings or Rejoicing in the one hymn that was awesome to sing. Or saying a prayer for each of the congregational members if what is coming out of the Minister's mouth is horrid to your ears. Worship is a time when we turn from ourselves and focus upon God. That is when our prayers turn from "me" to "us". Try it!
The following prayer is from an old friend (God rest his soul), Father Ted Weare. Father Ted was an awesome example of what it means to be a follower of Christ. In his advanced years, the Church he had belonged too for his whole life turned around and bit him like a vengeful seeking lion. And what did Father Ted do? He did not go home and say, "That is it. Church is dumb". He went out and said, "I've always wanted to be Orthodox!" And so his ministry with the Orthodox Church began. This prayer was written by Father Ted during his time of struggle and upheaval.... and I think it a marvelous example of a prayer that is prayed by a Christian who knows that God is beyond any denomination.
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, let Your healing flow down upon me. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, let your healing spring up within me. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, let Your healing love enfold me. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, let Your healing power flow through me. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, let Your healing flow down upon Your Church. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, let Your healing spring up within us so that we can help heal others. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, let Your healing love enfold Your Church. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, let Your healing power flow through us to help others this day. Amen.