As Sylvia and I were returning from a family wedding weekend in September, we had to travel on a Sunday morning. As such, we wanted to faithful to our pledge to God to keep the Sabbath holy by attending a worship service. But as most of you know that is not easy when you are traveling. We also had Sylvia’s mother with us who now uses a wheelchair so we had to have a church with easy handicap accessibility. So we drove about an hour and half, and Sylvia, using that wonderful modern technology of the cell phone, found us an appropriate church for our worship.
We arrived at the church and were in the Narthex as the first service was letting out of the sanctuary. That service was their contemporary service. It was great seeing people of all ages leaving worship with smiles and greetings around. We then entered the sanctuary and experienced a wonderful traditional worship experience complete with a 30 member choir and one of the youth playing organ that day. As a time of worship, it was very meaningful.
I bring this experience up because as I worshipped, I recognized how important the offering and experience of both styles of worship has become to me. (It obviously was important to that church family as all those people seemed to enjoy their worship time.) As I pondered this experience, I realized how important offering both styles of worship has become to me for a church family. I also noted that when I am away on vacation, I can be at either style of worship and I am happy with that. It is a special blessing.
As my thoughts have continued on why I find this so refreshing, it is perhaps because I find being in a church that offers both styles of worship, helps people connect with God which is what church worship is to be all about. I know too, that many people have a preferred style of worship. Yet I find it uplifting that many people also can find joy in either experience and some like a variety in their worship time. I also know from speaking to some of you that your preference for worship style on a given day may have more to do with your schedule. Your decision centers on whether you have to get going early so early service that day, or the night before was a late night, so sleep is important to the schedule and thus the second service is the preference of that day.
Thanks be to God that He accepts the variety of ways we worship. And even as I write that, I think about the Labyrinth we will eventually have next spring that will focus on silent worship and prayer. God is good, and I hope you are finding your worship times to be blessed.
Pastor Dale Reese