Email Devotion pentecost 18
Peace be to the whole community, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 6:23)
As I looked around, I knew that I was looking at a picture of health. Not in the way we often think of it, as visions of healthy clear veins, a strong pumping heart, and limber joints flexing. What I saw was people singing with enthusiasm … a couple of toddlers dancing in the aisles … retirees and elementary school-aged children smiling with joy … and a young adult’s enthusiastic clapping serving as an invitation to others to accompany him. I saw a baby crying … some people with knee-walkers … some couples holding hands … and a guy with a shoulder sling. I saw grey-heads … a few children’s braids … some in Sunday-best clothing alongside some in weekend casual clothing. I saw people who would claim their Lutheran heritage … some who were raised in other Christian traditions … and a few who are connected to other religious heritages. I saw people I knew and some I did not … young and old … singles and families … and both veterans and newbies to the experience. And over it all presided the priests and priestesses of the music, our band which is the life-blood of the gathering, and the fuel for the fire of the Spirit.
Yes, I had the privilege of helping to lead worship at our New Day praise service today. And while I always enjoy my occasional forays to the north side of the building, I found today’s service to be an especially potent picture of a healthy and vibrant community. While we may only have modest racial and economic diversity in our community of faith, I was deeply struck by the rich textures of human experience I saw in those ninety-plus believers gathered to worship. There was vitality present … there was joy in being together … there was genuine interest in the mentoring of our children in sacramental participation, music, and the children’s message. What I experienced, along with everyone else, was life … life in community.
Sometimes we are at risk of taking for granted the things and people that are closest to us — those realities we experience every day. Sometimes what is the closest to us, is the very thing we are blind to. Sometimes we travel, physically or symbolically, to far places to experience things that are within arm’s reach of our daily routines. My sporadic participation in New Day worship, keeps the beauty and grace of that community fresh and real for me. I was grateful for that experience today, as I typically am, and I was reminded to open my eyes to the other blessings that surround me. As you pray and reflect on life this week, I invite you to do the same, whether our New day service serves as the prompt for your reflection, or some other vibrant and moving experience in which you participate.