Singing, and Meeting, and Getting Merry

People of Amazing Grace,

How beautifully you sing! (I’m still excited about how good y’all sounded at our a cappella service!) And I love how you take our Lutheran tradition and make it fresh and new at services like Amazing Grace Sunday and our Reformation Day service with the Upper Room Community.

And yet we’re always working on making our services better! In the month of November, we’ll be focusing on our worship, asking some really big questions about the way we worship together. I want to invite you to pray daily for the worship life of our congregation, and how we might be more faithful, helping more people experience God’s amazing Grace in even deeper ways.

Now is the perfect time to have this conversation, while we have a vacancy in our Music Minister position. What do we want in a Music Minister? Let’s figure out now, before we begin the search.

Some of our desire to make our worship  better comes from differences of opinion that we have, like which styles of music we prefer to sing, and what language we use to refer to God that both is gender inclusive and faithful to our tradition.

So we’re going to dig around together in some really deep questions: How do we balance respect for the riches of church tradition with a need to stay fresh and relevant? How can worship be both a source of comfort, and challenge us in ways that move us to new places? How do we reach visitors, people new to faith, and lifelong Lutherans all in one service? What do we need to be fed? What does our neighbor need to feel God’s Grace?

We’ll invite a consultant in to be a neutral, objective facilitator of our conversation . His name is John Lefeber, and council leaders and I have been encouraged in our initial meeting with him.

Here’s the process: We’ll have three “cottage meetings” on November 12th 14th, and 17th. These will be small group discussions in member’s homes, at different times of the week, and you can choose which one fits your schedule best. By breaking up into smaller groups, we’ll make sure everyone gets heard. Then we’ll come together as a congregation after church on November 20th to hear about each conversation, and create a shared vision for Grace’s worship.  All of these conversations are open to all members, friends, and regular visitors- anyone who cares how Grace worships!

Those of you who’ve been wondering “What the heck is a kyrie?” or have other questions about the tradition of our worship services are invited to a Christian Growth class, November 7th and 14th, at 7pm in the parlor. We’ll talk about the Biblical origins of the words we say on Sunday morning, and the meaning of the different pieces of Sunday morning worship services.

In addition to praying about this daily, I invite you each to reflect on worship in your life. What do Sunday morning worship services mean to you? What are some of your earliest memories of worshipping? What worship services have been more memorable in your life? In what styles are you most comfortable worshipping? What would you be willing to do in a worship service out of love for someone else? What kind of worship services would you be most likely to invite a friend to?  Those of you who are quieter might even want to write some reflections out, to bring to the cottage meetings.

Start thinking about if the afternoon of Saturday the 12th , the afternoon of Monday the 14th, or the evening of Thursday the 17th works best for your schedule, and be on the lookout for times and locations to follow. Pray for our congregation to have open, listening ears, careful and true speech, and faithful hearts. And be prepared for the Holy Spirit to guide our conversation, leading us to even deeper and deeper Grace!

Pastor Lura

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