Do We See God, or Pluck Blackberries?

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“Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush is afire with God; but only he who sees takes off his shoes—the rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.”  Elizabeth Barrett Browning

When we come for worship, do we see God, or do we pluck blackberries? Are we at worship to give ourselves into God’s presence, or to take from God whatever we can get? People commonly view the pastor and people up front as the actors in the drama of worship, with God, the Holy Spirit, being the prompter, while the congregation are the spectators. This is hardly God-centered worship. God honoring, life-giving worship occurs when the worshippers are the actors, the pastor and those up front are the prompters, and God is the listener. This involves much more giving that getting on our part. Our active participation determines what we receive, because you get out of something only as much as you put into it.

This means preparation is required. At the beginning of our worship service, we prepare ourselves by cleansing our hearts and minds through the confession of our sins and hearing the precious words of forgiveness. Preparing ourselves, however, must begin long before this. When we get to the church, we can meditate with God while inspirational music flows into our ears. Even before that, while at home, we can read the lessons and have our personal devotions so we know what’s coming in God’s Word. Invite the Holy Spirit to work in us and prepare us so our worship is a more meaningful, deeper experience of God’s presence.

October 26th is Reformation Sunday. We celebrate the Church’s Reformation, because just as it changed the Church 500 years ago, our Church is still changing today. Just as Martin Luther reformed not only the Church’s practices to emphasize the true Word of God and stand on the Scriptures alone, he also reformed the music and style of worship, making the congregation participants rather than spectators; something we continue to do today. Are you here to worship God, or to pluck blackberries? By his grace, God is still reforming his Church!

Pastor Kurt Wandrey

All are invited to attend the ordination of Pastor Gail Gutterud on Reformation Day, Friday, October 31, at 6 p.m. at Peace Lutheran. Pastor Gail will be installed during worship on November 2, 2014, at 10 a.m.