Julie kae sigars
If memory serves, it was the summer of 1995…I went to the Presbyterian Association of Musicians Summer conference in Albuquerque. I was kind of fearful, but I had spent a year as a choir director. And I knew I was missing something. Maybe these people could help me.
One of my classes was The Theology of Worship. It stopped me in my tracks. "You mean,” I said, “All the things we do in worship actually MEAN SOMETHING? We do them for a REASON?”
After I returned home, my pastor patiently listened to all that came spilling out. "Julie Kae," he said, "I think you should think about seminary." Yes, you know most of the rest…
One thing that I keep coming back to in our worship is the way we put things together. That “MEANS SOMETHING,” too. The fancy word is ordo. And over time, “participation in the worship ordo lays down a kind of neural pathway that shapes all of Christian life.” * Think about that for a moment. How we do things on Sunday morning guides and forms us in our way of being out in the world.
Arlo Duba (one of the sweetest men alive), puts it this way, “Ordo represents the total
ordering of the Christian life as it expresses itself in the assembly and as it leads to and flows from that assembly.”
That’s some serious stuff. The staff here at St. Andrew takes this responsibility very seriously. We know how worship can transform. We also know how it can mis-form. So let’s think a bit about the “leading to and flowing from” part of our lives here at St. Andrew.
We share a vision of mission and the transformation of our lives, our neighborhoods, our city, our world. As we come and gather, we feel compelled to be here. Who is calling us? God acts first, through the Spirit, tugging at our hearts. And we praise God -- for bringing us together, for creating the universe, for loving us. We name God, and
sometimes, we name ourselves.
Throughout the rest of the service, we move through the Word and Sacraments, again, retelling the stories, placing ourselves in the midst of them, either in prayer or song (sometimes at the same time!). And our choices of words, in prayers, in songs, forms us for that journey out. Do you notice those texts that “stretch us?” “Will you kiss the leper clean, and do such as this unseen…”
Our life of mission begins with worship of the One who calls us and sends us. The gift of worship gives us the courage and the energy to flow out into the world, offering healing, bread, and water, for a hurting, hungry, thirsty world.
*Call to Worship 46.3 p 14
Chuck Sigars is currently an elder at St. Andrew and a newspaper columnist and author.