Last week when I realized I was the only scheduled to plan and lead Wednesday night's lent group my first thought was, "not something else to do!" And then it dawned on me: this time I could do whatever I wanted. I was not bound by anyone's order of worship. I wasn't even really bound by their expectations. The description of the time was "Pastor Debbie will lead us in a different style of worship". That's just vague enough that I could do whatever I wanted as long as it wasn't the same old same old, and I was stoked! So last night we sang some of my favorite songs, read scripture, prayed together, lit candles for those we lifted up silently, and made a worship quilt/wall hanging. There had been 5" swatches of 5 fabrics to choose from as people entered the chapel, each representing a different part of worship and people were to pick the one for the area of worship that speaks to them. At the end of our worship service, they came to the table that had a cross already laid on it (as Christ is the center of our worship) and each added their own "worship" to the image. As I shared with them, worship is dependent upon us, our participation, what we give to it, and depending on who is there, the image we create in collective worship will look different every time. It was beautiful, and hopefully helped them (re)see worship in a new light--a light that gives them agency, and doesn't leave it all in the pastor's or choir director's hands.
But even more fun than all of that was that I had them side stepping (as best as my fair skinned novice parishoners could) and clapping or snapping. Remember I work with an aging congregation, so there were two young adults there, and everyone else collects social security, so this is no common place occurance. And God bless 'em, everyone was up and moving as they attempted to use their bodies to worship--to dance like David.
It was fun to do, and exciting to not experience resistance. And despite my limited music skills, we learned new songs and sang them well, they filled the chapel with their voices. It was beautiful. I think it was the second olive branch God has extended to me this week. The olive branch of hope, of not giving up, the olive branch of promise. Apparently the rough waters I lived on for so many months were just that, rough waters--flood waters, and now hopefully the storm is over, the waters are calming, and receeding, and God has sent me an olive branch. Reason to keep going with this calling of mine, even though there has been so much trial over the last 8 months. God is good my friends....God is good.