What a great Sunday morning! This morning at Bethany, we had a busy service full of exciting moments. As I initially reflected on the hour of fellowship and worship, I was a little disappointed. I work hard on my sermon each week, spending hours in prayer, reflection, study, writing, re-writing and reviewing. I am always so excited to share where God has spoken to me in the past week, I love preaching each week!
Today in worship, I was happy to share the numerous events we are about to embark on in the coming weeks. We have events scheduled for nearly every week from now until Christmas! Wanting everyone to take advantage of the great opportunities, I took extra time with the announcements.
One of the warmest parts of a service for me can be the “passing of the peace” where everyone greats each other. In a small church like Bethany, this means that everyone gets a hug and says “hello” to everyone! This is important so we took time for this today and it is always difficult to ask folks to stop loving on each other, so another few minutes went by.
I spent an extra moment during the Prayers of the People today as I guided us in remembering the importance of silence in our lives, especially during the difficult times. After a prayer, a moment of silence and another prayer, we moved on to the next part of worship.
Next, Mrs. Brenda Torbush shared her testimony with the congregation as a part of a “Sharing our Testimony” series we have embarked on. Brenda shared a moving tale of trials and faith and how God has been powerful in her life through it all. I am so thankful she volunteered to share with us a few minutes during service.
Today is “World Communion Sunday.” I had a little information about this event and wanted to protect some time for this and for the actual communion we would share in together as a community at Bethany.
All of that wonderfulness meant that when I got up to give my sermon, I realized the 15 minute sermon (which is shorter than normal) would be about 13 minutes too long! Today reminded me of why I feel so blessed to be at Bethany and why I love these people so much. Even though I gave an incredibly shortened sermon challenging us to think about the Ten Commandments not as a list of rules but as a promise of God’s faithfulness, everyone after was so generous and kind. Even though I felt like I had poorly planned the service, allowing multiple items to go on too long, almost everyone gave me a warm hug and told me how fortunate they feel to have me at Bethany.
As I think more about today and our time of worship, I think back on the challenge I gave at the end of my micro-sermon:
My challenge to you is that you will ask God, “Where are you calling me? What are you asking me to do? What is your will for my life?” Then when you hear from him, obey him. Obey his laws for you the physical appearance of God in your life, will be unmistakable and glorious indeed!”
I think God was calling us to a different kind of worship today and that is a good thing. I think being obedient to God, allowing for extra time (in my mind, wasted time) was where God wanted Bethany today. As many people spoke about the power of communion, the testimony, passing of the peace or any other part of the service, I am reminded being obedient to God often looks different than my plans, but if I listen to my own challenge from today, he was “unmistakable and glorious” in worship with us indeed!