Thursday, May 13, 2010

Making the adjustment

"Ahh," said a barista friend of mine at Starbucks as she stretched out her back and got ready for the next order.

She said she'd been hurting, but now was feeling better. She'd been to her chiropractor for an adjustment. Her neck and spine were now aligned properly.

If you've ever hurt yourself and then received treatment from a therapist, you know how good you feel, perhaps even immediately.

Worship is like that. On Sundays, we go to church for a weekly adjustment--not a physical one, but a spiritual one.

Monday through Saturday, we're barraged by voices that call out: Do more. Be more. Acquire more.

We're battered by the stresses of work, school, home, problems of all kinds.

We bend and break before temptations and are burdened by sin and guilt.

Like the medieval Italian poet Dante, writing in his Divine Comedy, we soon find ourselves lost in a dark wood. We're hurting psychologically, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

It's time for an adjustment, which God provides in corporate worship.

When we worship God, we take a break from the craziness, the emptiness, and the pressures of daily living, and we make time for the praise and adoration of the one true God.

We reject the deadly idols of the world and embrace the One who alone gives us the fullness of life.

In the Holy Eucharist, we turn from the internal and external noise and enter into the silence in which the Spirit speaks to us.

We listen to music and anthems and sing hymns, which uplift us and unite our hearts with God.

We pray in the ancient words of The Book of Common Prayer and in our own words and join ourselves to God.

In the Holy Scriptures and sermon, when we pay attention and eagerly seek him, we hear God address us personally with the Word that is meant for us, and our souls quicken with new life.

And in the Holy Communion, as we kneel before God and reach out to him and for him, we receive the Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The sacrament is not just bread and wine, but it's also Christ giving himself to us. It's his real presence, which meets our needs and heals our hurts.

When we worship God regularly, we're fully alive. We overflow with hope, joy--and that precious, although scarce reality in these anxious times: Christ's peace that passes all understanding.

Worship is our weekly adjustment, aligning us with God and keeping us healthy in our relationships with him and one another.

It's that "ahh" experience to start our week.


  1. I realize you are speaking in generalities here, and I don't disagree with your basic point. Weekly communion with Christ and each other is an antidote for and renewal from the stresses of daily living. But it's perhaps a bit harsh to assume that the reader lives with a stark dichotomy of church vs. tumbling turmoil. I live a simple life where I consciously avoid society's pressures to "Do more. Be more. Acquire more." It's all too easy to assume that our time outside of church is antithetical to living a Christ-like life. I love my time each week in church. But because of the choices I make in my life, my time Sunday mornings is part of the fabric of that life rather than a refuge separate from it.

  2. Thanks for reading and responding, Ginger. I'm glad you're regularly in worship and gaining spiritually from the experience. You're right to observe the danger of dividing worship and life. Life should be worship, and worship should life. God bless you. Ken


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