Silence in our worship:
Worship is a term that Craig has been working hard to help us understand. In the church I grew up in “worship” was an adjective that described a type of song we sang during the “praise and worship” portion of the service. Worship songs, were the slow emotive songs that cultivated a sense of admiration for God’s person and work. A better way to understand worship is any of the activities we do as a gathered community to celebrate God.
If you’ve been to church in the last few months, you’ve probably noticed that Craig has asked us to practice silence as a form of worship.
I’m an enneagram three. That might not mean anything to you, but what it means to me is that when I’m asked to participate in silence, my emotive-driven-self can hardly stand it. My legs get fidgety; I can’t help but focus on the 13 coughs I can hear people trying to stifle and the blank space in my head starts to fill with football highlights that I witnessed at Floyd Casey Stadium the day before.
And that’s exactly why I need to practice silence. Christian worship has long used the best tools to aid in the emotive experience. But worship is not just about ecstasy, it’s also about challenging and forming us. That I find myself uncomfortable with silence indicates that I need to keep practicing it.
This fall I read Eugene Peterson’s memoir The Pastor. In it Peterson describes a conversation with a young woman about their church service. He asks her what the hardest part is. This is her response:
“The silence. You say ‘Let us pray,’ and you don’t say anything for maybe twenty or thirty seconds—but it seems forever. I couldn’t hand the silence. I’d get anxious and fidgety. I almost quit coming I was so uncomfortable. And then after a couple of months I calmed down. Then I started liking it. And now, when you finally start praying, I say inwardly, Oh, not yet pastor, I’m not ready yet. I guess I thought that worship was something I had to do, or it was something you were doing. It was in worship that I became quiet listening and present before God for the first time in my life. And the silence was my way in. Those twenty-five seconds of silence were better than of your twenty-five minute sermons.” (p. 287)
Toph has finished conversations with the leadership team and gotten approval to begin exploring future mission relationships with two different locations in Asia. Toph will be leading a team to the Dominican Republic for the last time this May. I’m really proud of the great work that he and other UBCers have done there.
As was mentioned in our November Town Hall meeting, we are in the process of purchasing two lots across the street (Flynt). Since the town hall, the contract has been signed by both parties and we are scheduled to close on December 2nd. If all goes well, we will be celebrating on small liturgy on the property after church on the 8th.
At UBC we have so many talented folks living out mission in the life of the larger Waco community. Can I brag about two guys whose I work I absolutely love? Clint Harp and Britt Duke do all kinds of crafty things over at the Harp Design Co. Here’s a photo of Britt in action posted on facebook this week. Check out their stuff here.
- Love our musicians? Read this.
- The last installment of our Healthy Marriage Series will take place this Sunday night November 17th, at 6:00 PM. Dr. Robert Creech will be speaking about family systems.
- The annual Advent Workshop for our children will take place on December 1st. If would you like information about that email josh@ubcwaco.
- We will also have our first ever Christmas Sing Along on December 1st at 7:00 PM.
- The sermon text for Sunday is Luke 21:5-19.
- Our Annual Thanksgiving Love Feast will be November 24th at 6:00 PM.