Sunday, January 23, 2005

The Year Of Worship

When our kids were much younger we took them to a Chinese restaurant after church one Sunday. The restaurant had placemats indicating the various years of the Chinese calendar. There was the year of the tiger, the year of the snake and the like. My stepson Joey was reading along and came across one he didn't quite was a rooster, but the placemat didn't use the word rooster. The placemat referred to a male chicken by a common and perfectly acceptable word when used in context...unfortunately in the middle of a restaurant packed with post church service customers the loudly voiced question of an 11 year old asking, "What's a c**k?" raised any number of eyebrows, caused at least one egg drop soup spit-take and resulted in me suppressing the urge to crawl under the table. I recall uncomfortably explaining to Joey in as hushed tones as possible that the word he had spoken loud enough for apparently everyone in the restaurant to hear had two meanings, both of which one might argue belonged in a barnyard.

Amy and I didn't make any resolutions this year, but over the past few weeks we've agreed that 2005 will be our "Year of Worship." There are already issues arising at church which have proven distracting. Two longtime church members sudden decision to leave announced via a Friday night email created real problems for Amy since they were members of the music team expected to help lead worship today.

Additionally, we've changed our by-laws regarding the election of Deacons and Elders, a process started back in October, but now - a week before the election - there is confusion about what was approved which opened the door to additional delay and debate.

In the interim we will not have enough people in lay ministry positions to do some exciting work we had planned.

On top of that, our newly announced spiritual mentorship program may also be jeopardized since it was being organized by one of the members who decided to quit one week before he was to co-lead the initial instruction for the program.

It would be very easy to get distracted and disillusioned if not utterly dismayed by these developments.

But at least for Amy and me that's not going to happen.

We are determined to robe ourselves in the worship of God.

The music may not be perfect, but our hearts will be in the right place. Today, by the way, the music was beautiful because at the last minute Amy took it upon herself to contact Joe, a man we came to know over the past two years because he delivered Amy's medical supplies. He is a strong Christian whom we learned has been actively looking for a new church home. He also plays the piano and sings. He agreed to play during our service today and it was wonderfully uplifting.

He worshipped God with an ease of song which was contagious.

Joe and his family are still church shopping and I tend to doubt our church will prove to be the right fit for them, but for today it meshed and his gift to our congregation was a blessing.

I don't know if next week will be better or worse. I do know it will be different.

I also know we will still worship.

Our Deacon and Elder elections almost certainly will fall victim to further procrastination or politics, but our church will survive. That will only distract us from worshipping God if we allow it and we won't.

The mentorship program is bigger than one mortal individual and I have faith that its Christ-centered roots will take hold and bear fruit despite a few unexpected rocks in the soil.

This is the Year of Worship.

No uncomfortable explanations are necessary.