It felt awkward and odd to be leading worship and not seeing your faces. But afterwards, when I started receiving your emails, texts and phone calls noting that you had been present in worship and sharing your stories of the way you participated, I was overwhelmed with thanksgiving. My thanksgiving is for the faithfulness of this wondrous congregation.
Over two hundred of you — and several dogs — joined us in our first online worship! I hope you will join again on Sunday. By phone or text or email tell your fellow members and neighbors to join us as well. In this perilous passage gathering together, even if it is electronically, in worship before God reorients our living so that we may walk each day in light of God rather than in darkness.
One of the best things that happens in worship is that we sing. We sing of the joys and the sorrows in our hearts and offer them up to God. We sing praises to God. And we sing out prayers seeking God’s presence and help in the troubles we face.
Martin Rinkart was a Lutheran pastor in Eilenburg, Germany during the Thirty Years’ War and in the midst of a terrible epidemic. In the midst of those frightening days the music of worship sustained him. In that time he wrote a hymn to be used as a family prayer at meal time. It goes like this:
Now thank we all our God with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things hath done, in whom this world rejoices;
who, from our mothers’ arms hath blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.
O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us;
and keep us in God grace, and guide us when perplexed,
and free us from all ills in this world and the next.
May it be so!
Grace and peace,