“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
– John 4:23-24
One recent Sunday was a bit different from the normal busyness prior to worship. When I got here the alarm was going off. Then I could not connect to print my sermon. Then there was no connectivity to access the music I had selected on YouTube and of course we could not stream the service.
Typically I would be an absolute maniac, running around and trying to figure out the problem and working to get it all going. If you have ever seen me in this state before, and I am sure most of you have, you will know it isn’t pretty. I get snarky and snappy and forget that I am the pastor. I bite the heads off of people who truly need to speak to me. Such was the case a few weeks ago when I hurt the feelings of one of our elders. I did apologize later and she graciously forgave me, but as her pastor I realized that I was allowing the “stuff” around me to get in the way of leading with love and kindness and building people up rather than tearing them down. So I have been praying a lot about how I respond to people when I am overwhelmed and why I allow myself to get that way in the first place.
But that Sunday, when none of my electronics were working, was different and for that I am very grateful. Maybe the memory of the pain I had inflicted on my friend was closer in my mind than all the stuff that wasn’t working or maybe the Holy Spirit heard my cry to be different when things pile up. Maybe it was a combination of both. Whatever it was I was calmer than I would be on my own and prayed before panicking and the results were incredible to me.
A Sweet Spirit
We sang a capella with one of our members leading us and we worshipped together even though we didn’t have the usual electronic assistance or my usual printed out sermon.I went off “script” as I preached and the sermon I wasn’t super excited about became something else, something far better. There was such a sweet spirit among us. I felt that sense of intimacy that comes only with the presence of the Holy Spirit.The need I always have to present a perfect service to the people was left behind. All we had was our devotion to God, the love of Jesus and the presence of the Holy Spirit. I often pray that God would take from us all that would distract us from true worship and He did.
God used the absence of electronics to focus me back on the heart of worship.Worship isn’t about all the “stuff” or even about the bells and whistles I can put together for a Sunday morning, it is about leading each other into the presence of the living God.I think we did that and I am so very grateful.
On the Journey,
P.S. We are all reconnected now thanks to the husband of the elder whose feelings I hurt. Coincidence? Nope, it was God reminding me once again that He has the greatest sense of humor and uses the circumstances of our lives, even our missteps, as a way of showing Himself.