Monday, December 07, 2015

The irony (and importance) of being intentional about a good worship attitude

I understand that the usual Sunday "worship event" is not really what The Church is about. Simply attending a service does not make one anymore spiritual than not attending (although I think there does need to be some kind of commitment/submission to a community of people).

That said - for me personally - I really like being a part of Sunday morning gatherings. At least I want to like it. So the last couple weeks I have been trying to be more intentional about going into it with a better attitude. Rather than looking for something to complain about, I would much rather go in with a sense of expectation about a positive encounter with God, and people.

A week ago Sunday we had Jane's brother with us. For some reason it seemed different, because I knew what he was used to on Sunday mornings. I knew that our gathering would be much more different than what he is used to, and I realized how lucky we are to have a church like we do. Even when I get annoyed... it could be much worse. It was amazing, then, how different the experience was for me, and how much different my attitude was.

So this Sunday, before we left the house, I commented to Jane my desire to be more intentional about a good worship gathering attitude. For me it starts before we leave the house. I want to leave in plenty of time so we don't arrive late or rushed. That seems to make a big difference.

The ironic thing... Last week the focus of the service was on forgiveness. It was a powerful morning for me. I came to the conclusion that I really don't hold anything against the people who we felt betrayed by anymore... other than one person. I sensed more than ever that my regional director was still the source of much of my lingering anger and grief. So, while being glad I had 'let go' of others, I spent a lot of time thinking and praying about my feelings towards this one individual.

So, back to this Sunday (yesterday)... We left for the service in plenty of time; stopped at McDonalds and got our large coffees (with one cream); and arrived in time to actually get a table at the gathering. I sat there by myself for awhile (while Jane went to the restroom), and even though no one spoke to me, I was able to scan the room for someone I could encourage on that day. For as lame as worship services can sometimes be, I believe they are still huge opportunities to encourage hurting and searching hearts. Anyway, Jane came back, Drew Carrie showed up, and another couple we are friends with filled out our table. So I was happy about that. Then... I was slapped in the face by irony.

God has such a wild sense of humor. The music had started, the room was darkened, I was actually getting into singing, and... in walks my regional director and his wife, and they sat at the table right next to us! Hahaha... Isn't that funny? I actually chuckled to myself. Then Jane and Carrie both turned around with wide-eyed looks at the oddity of it all.

Well, I reminded myself of who I was; who I belong to; and how I want to be. And I was actually able - I believe through nothing less than the power of the Holy Spirit - to see this as a positive. An opportunity. And I felt a sense of release and relief.

When it was time to greet some people, I made a bee-line for the RD and his wife, smiled and shook their hands. It was nice to see them. After the service we chatted as well, and while my conversations with them have always been awkward, I had no animosity or anger. I was able to leave and go about my day with a free and easy mind. For that I am most thankful to the work God has been doing in me.

So, there ya go... just another reminder to be careful what you pray for. And, at the same time, I believe I have also grown enough to realize that reconciliation is still at arms length. Life is no longer like it was. However, my mind is at ease; my heart is happy; my soul is calm and restful.

Such was this day in my life.