Hope in the Darkness
By: Ryan Lynch
A worship service has three purposes. The first is to devote time, attention and energy to praising God. It is a way of saying that our time with God is so primary in our life that we schedule around God instead of asking God to schedule around us.
The second is to be a space where we experience and are filled with the grace and love of God through music, teaching, fellowship, prayers, and sacraments of communion and baptism. It is a space of spiritual nourishment.
The third purpose of a worship service is being part of a community to uplift, support, rejoice, and pray with. Worship is about God and our own personal faith and it is about how we participate in the community. Our presence can help support and encourage others in their struggles. Laughter and hope is spread as we rejoice together. Worship can really only be done in a community. Personal devotion is powerful and I recommend you set aside time for prayer, scripture reading, or contemplation with God. At the core of our faith, though, is God’s call to gather and worship. The gathering can be small or large. It can be with family members, friends or strangers. It can be on any day of the week and in any building or no building at all. However and wherever is not as important as the fact that we do gather together. Jesus stated in Matthew, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
Next Thursday we will have a worship service called “A Longest Night Service”. The holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas, while joyous for many are very difficult for others. Some are approaching this season filled with grief and mourning. Some are suffering from illnesses. Some people are experiencing loneliness. While the radio may be playing upbeat songs, their life like the days around us are continuously getting darker. The Longest Night Service recognizes this and is a service to express the difficult of the season as well as proclaim that the night will not overcome us. Christ’s light shines in the darkness and no matter how dark it is for you this Christmas, that darkness does not overcome Christ. I encourage you to attend the worship service next Thursday starting at 6:30. Maybe you need to be able to name your darkness. Maybe you need to be reminded of Christ’s light. Maybe you are filled with joy and can be part of the community to support and lift up others. May God’s light shine with love and hope through whatever darkness you experience this Christmas.
Pastor Ryan Lynch