On Family Reunions and Worship

by vernsanders on April 20, 2012

As an only child (ah…you say, that explains everything…well, not quite everything…) of parents who were older when I was born, my family, which mostly consists of cousins on my mother’s side, is small when compared to most. I used to live the farthest away, until one of my cousins moved to Germany, but even at that, they get together more informally and more often, since they are geographically proximate. But we do get together once a year at a reunion, which is this weekend.

At every one of these, it is like coming home again. We talk about what we have in common, which is mostly our childhood, and catch up on what is going on in each others’ lives, and those of our children, and now, grandchildren.

So I’m getting ready to go, but I’m also in deadline week with the magazine…and yes, there is a connection. Our lead article this time is entitled Searching for a Worship Home. It details one family’s struggle to find a new worship home after a move due to relocation for work. It turns out, what they were looking for was home, however you define that…which is not to say “what I remember from my childhood, e.g. tradition.” What they were looking for was an ease of being around a worship family and a family at worship.

It seems to me that sometimes, as professional worship leaders and church musicians, we too often chase the “new” for our own needs, rather than considering the comfort sense of ease of the congregation we serve during worship. Now don’t go all postal about what I’m saying…I’m not saying that worship should never change.  The one we worship does not change, and yet in this world change is inevitable. So there has to be some organic change in what we do as professionals on the platform. Yet how often have I observed that when a congregation is having trouble with the war worship department, it is most often because either the leadership has distanced itself from the congregation (either by not changing or by changing too much), or distanced itself from the unchangeable.

Robert Webber, among others, has said it well: Worship is like a gathering of extended family and friends. The vagaries of calendar conjunction have brought me a 125th anniversary of the founding of the church I serve within a two week window of my own family reunion. I’m looking forward to that as well, because I think that it is helpful, every so often to remember that we are a church family – both locally, and across this planet – with roots, even though we might be scattered over geographic and chronological distances.

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.

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