On most Sundays as many of us are milling around greeting and catching up with old friends and making new ones, there comes the tick of 10:00 and with it the Call to Worship. Most times this is heralded with a lovely bell descant and then an invitation for us to join in singing the entry into our time of worship.
Why do we do this? Is the "Call to Worship" anything other than the equivalent of the on and off of the lights flickering at a performance to mark the shows beginning?
Absolutely! Worship is not a performance of some. It is instead something that all of us create together. The quality of worship depends not just on the preparation of those tasked with leading but also with the disposition of all of those who gather. The Call to Worship summons us all into the Holy "work" of being present in a way that may be radically different that the rest of the week affords.
The Call to Worship is just what it's name suggests. It is a call, a summons, an imperative for all of us to move from one space, orientation, way of being in the world to another. It is the mark that something new is breaking forth and that all that are gathered are part of making something new happen.
What is breaking forth? A time out of time. For six days of the week, we may be "slaves of Pharaoh" but on the seventh day, the time is our own. It is time of the "Eternal Now" where we are invited to move from an allegiance to an economy of scarcity where the unit of production marks out worth to an economy of abundance where there is sufficiency and a reverence and honoring for all that already is.
The Call to Worship is a gateway, a threshold, a liminal space that calls us into our deepest truest selves. It calls us to let go of the defenses that armor us against the
of our days and asks that we bring the vulnerabilities of our unguarded selves into presence with each other and with God.
So when we hear that "Call" lets practice making ready our hearts to show up in openness and participation for what we will be creating together.
will be a weekly column this summer where we will provide short answers to questions you may have about why we do what we do in worship.