When I started this blog and titled it "Monday Mornings," I had visions of starting each week with a time for reflection on the week past and the week to come. More often, however, I feel like Mondays are the start of an agility and endurance race. The alarm goes off and I hit the ground running - tightly scheduled and multi-tasking all the way through to Friday, and sometimes into Saturday. Instead of sitting down at a clean desk and preparing myself for the week ahead, my office still bears the remnants of last week's projects (and the weeks before), greeting me with the "you haven't finished this yet" thoughts that somehow inanimate objects can express telepathically. By the time I arrive in my office before 9:30am, I have already sweated through boot camp, made lunches, breakfasted, delivered my kid (and sometimes his friends) to school, showered, walked the dog, checked my email, rotated some laundry through its never-ending process, and washed some dishes. I say this not to nominate myself for some mythical Wonder Woman award, but rather to highlight the importance of Sunday worship.
In Sunday School last week, the first and second graders were talking about God's rules. Of course, all of the commandments are relevant and challenging, but the one that struck me that morning was number three: "Remember to worship and rest one day a week." At the time I thought, "That's exactly why coming to church feels so different from the rest of the week - we slow down just like God wanted us to do from the beginning."
Sometimes we wonder why we come to church. What do we get out of it? Is it really relevant? It can be a struggle to make time and get the whole family there, so why bother? Is it really going to be worth it? Well, if we are looking for content or constant entertainment or inspiration, then some weeks may feel more "worth it" than others. However, if we are heeding God's instruction to slow down and rest, to change our pace for just one day and focus on God and the people in our lives, then I would say every Sunday hits the mark.
The rhythm of worship is slower than our everyday pace, and that's a good thing. We race through life enough as it is, we don't need to rush through our God and faith community time too. Worship gives us a chance to settle in and savor the quieter, slower pace, even for a hour. And I would argue that once we have slowed down, none of us really wants to leave. That's why the fellowship time after worship is so special. It's not the quality of the coffee or treats - after slowing down, people want to savor their time together and enjoy one another's company.
Recently, Jamie Brueshoff's blog about children in worship appeared on the Huffington Post. She wrote that it matters that our children learn that everyone is welcome in worship and that we are all a part of the community of faith. Even when they make noise or squirm and especially when they dance and sing and pray loudly, their worship is important and it matters that their family - your family - endured the struggle of getting to church so that they could wiggle and wonder in worship. Brueshoff is absolutely right. Perhaps just as important though is the lesson in rhythm and pace that our kids learn from their weekly wiggles in church. Just like us, they are learning that life isn't always a race, they are practicing a pace more in line with what God intended for us, and they are reconnecting to their innate sense of awe and wonder at the here and now.
On Monday the race will begin again, but hopefully our Sunday rest and worship will have centered us, slowed us or connected us just enough that we won't be torn apart before we reach the finish line.
Thank you, God, for the order and rhythm you want for my life. Amen.