The singer stood absolutely still. With open-hearted simplicity she crafted each phrase as if she were proclaiming an essential, God-given message. She did not perform the song but gave it as an offering, a gift, an extension of her innermost thoughts. Several worshipers nodded their heads yes with their eyes closed. Others were bent over in prayer; a few were rocking to the music. There was no sound but the singer's voice, yet an eclectic, diverse bunch of people had become one in the Spirit.
Reinhold Niebuhr once wrote, “The human spirit is incapable of ridding itself of an abiding sense of homelessness.” It is as if we never feel quite at home anywhere but are always seeking that sweet place. We yearn for the day when the distance between time and eternity will be finally and fully bridged; until then, we understand exile.
Worship: Act five
All the elements of worship have led us here, to the Eucharist, or communion table. Now a reshaping of human society begins. Just as the bread and wine are offered, transformed and received, the congregation—and through it the whole creation—is offered, transformed and received by God.
Members of the congregation must ask themselves, “Do I dare to say the creed?”
When they saw him, they worshiped him, but some doubted. Passages like this assure me there’s a place for me and the people I serve. Unlike John’s story of Thomas, Matthew didn’t single out one disciple as the doubter. He says that “some doubted.”
We know things only insofar as we can describe their likeness.