My name is Marcia Smith, and my husband I have been attending Lake Deaton UMC for several years. We spend half the year in Colorado where we attend a Lutheran church. However, after searching out many area churches, we discovered the congregation worshipping in Eisenhower Center and felt we had found our second church home. Although the service is very different from our Lutheran background, we are drawn to the authenticity and the Spirit-filled energy of the church leadership and congregation.
When my husband and I were in Tanzania, Africa, a few years ago, we noticed people walking in single file along a dusty, red road miles from any evidence of civilization. Getting closer, we saw many carried a Bible. Our guide said they were going to a church which was at least 5 miles away. They had to begin their journey hours before the service in order to get there in time. They were obviously thirsty for worship! At the time, I wondered how many American Christians would be willing to take such a long trek to get to church?
But then Covid came, and I found the quarantine evoked in me the same feeling of thirst for worship. On Sundays we would watch services from up to three different churches, but we felt more like viewers than participants. We missed hearing voices united in prayer and in song. We missed the Spirit-filled atmosphere of worshipping in a church with other believers.
Worshipping with others is food for the soul for Christians. It is the centerpiece of the Christian life and the pinnacle of the week. When we deliberately gather with others, we encounter Christ in new and dynamic ways. And when the worship service touches our emotions as well as our intellect, we know something profound has happened, and it is a gift.
When we walked into the holy sanctuary of Lake Deaton UMC in early March, our first time back within church walls, it was a profound moment and an emotional one. The service was authentic, alive and fresh. Our pastors and leaders created a worship experience that evoked an emotional response and connected us to God in new and dynamic ways. They fulfilled their sacred trust of feeding their flock with Spirit-filled worship.
And I realized a truth. What we get out of worship is in direct proportion to our attitude and openness when we attend. It is a sacred time meant for us to connect with our God in ways we couldn’t do otherwise. It is a powerful experience to pray together, sing together, receive communion. Worship brings energy and enlightenment to our lives. It indeed is the centerpiece of the week. And I will never take it for granted again.
- When I worship, am I coming with eager expectation to connect with God?
- When I worship, am I open to seeking out what He is saying to me?
- When I worship, is my participation with the worship service deeper than just sitting in the congregation?
Prayer: Dear God, help me to open my mind and my heart when I worship so that I may experience you and your love in a way that I never have before. Amen