This morning in gathered worship @ Belair, the events in the lives of some of our members reminded us all of the way joy and sorrow sit side by side, sometimes painfully & uncomfortably, in life. And as a couple of us reflected after the service, one of the beauties of a community like church is that when we can’t sing songs of joy, others will sing for us until we can. And while we lament and while we weep, others will weep with us. We are not alone.
We are using the material from SeasonsFUSION worship outlines: the theme for this week was words of comfort, and that I wrote the words we were praying gained a new depth this morning, as we heard of the pain and sorrow in the lives of folk from our community. I haven't mentioned that they are my words, and there's part of me that doesn't want to draw attention to that - perhaps I will once the Advent, Christmas Epiphany season has finished, and we move onto using others' words. We prayed specifically for a couple of people this morning, but it struck me as we spoke together the call to worship after having shared news early on, that these words were crafted by their minister, and all of a sudden it was as if I had written them just for us. I know that people in churches around the country and the world will be praying those prayers, and I wonder what will make them particularly significant for them. What are the needs of their communities, their members, that will help them to feel that those words were written just for them? Because I hope they feel that.
Writing for Seasons, you're about 12 months ahead, or more, and it can feel a little odd, a bit removed from the moment of gathered worship. You have a community in mind, one that you know, but you also know that you've got to write in such a way that the words invite people from different countries, hemispheres, experiences, ages ... to worship God, and you don't want to compromise so much that you say nothing at all. So as we prayed the words I wrote 12 months ago, I had a moment of deep gratitude for the way they spoke into our longing for comfort today. And for that, I can only thank that wondrous, mysterious, Sacred Spirit, as well as the courage of those who shared their pain with our community this morning.