Pastor’s ponderings

During a recent worship service, a mother was in attendance with her infant child.  The infant was getting a bit restless and crying out occasionally, which immediately drew the attention of those gathered for the morning worship time.  For some, it was a distraction, and the mom took the child out of the sanctuary for a short time to calm him down.

            Yet, after the service, one gentleman, who is ordinarily very quiet and reserved, came up to me and said, “You know, it is said, ‘When the babies stop crying, the church is dying.  Please tell that young lady thank you for bringing her child today.”  A few moments later, I relayed that message to the mom, and subsequently watched a big smile spread across her face.

            So often we consider the worship hour to be a reverent time, a quiet time, a time in which no sound is to be heard unless in singing hymns, praying, or the deliverance of God’s word.  Yet, especially in this season of Advent, when we are looking forward to hope, peace, joy, and love, why can’t we express these emotions, no different than an infant does?  After all, we are all babes in Christ, aren’t we? 

            Psalm 100 declares: “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.  2 Serve the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing.  Know that the Lord is God.  It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.  Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise.  Give thanks to him; bless his name.  For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever and his faithfulness to all generations.” (NRSVUE).

            So often we consider this verse to be about justification for our inability to sing; that we can just “make a joyful noise” and it will be acceptable to the Lord.  Yet, the real definition of “make a joyful noise” and “singing” found here, both mean to cry out, to shout for joy.  It is about proclaiming the greatness of God in our midst.  It is about celebrating the occasion in which we find ourselves.  It is about communicating with God in the moment of true worship.

            As such, I can’t help but to ponder – do we cry out to God like the infants of the Kingdom that we are?  Do we shout out unto The One who created us, redeemed us, and sustains us without fear of being removed from the sanctuary?  Because perhaps, if we are unwilling to do so, the church is dying faster than we realize.

                                                Always pondering,  Pastor Steve

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