I love to plan worship services. I love to arrange for the participants, select the hymns, write the prayers, choose the readings . . . I love every part. And I want it all to be perfect.
I had this problem even before I was a pastor. My wedding, for example. I didn’t spend much time on the dresses or flowers, but I wanted each word of the ceremony to be right. As my anxiety built in the days leading up to the wedding, my dad pulled me aside. “Joanna,” he said, “whatever happens, you and Ryan will be married when this wedding is over. And that’s what really matters.”
I suppose that it is generally a good thing for a pastor to care deeply about the content and structure of worship. But I will tell you that my worship-planning perfectionism has just about exhausted me this week. I preached on Tuesday at an ecumenical service—and was re-writing my “perfect” words until about an hour before worship. I led both family-friendly and contemplative worship services last night. These involved blocks, crackers, juice, clay, and candles—though not all at once. Then this morning I set up prayer stations around our church.
And, of course, the “big” worship service is yet to come. I know it’s not rationally or grammatically correct to say this, but I always want Easter Sunday worship to be even more perfect than all the other worship services. Yesterday I was thinking, “Wow, it’s a lot of stress, trying to lead people in a celebration of the resurrection.”
Then my “inner dad” pulled me aside. “Joanna,” he said, “whatever happens at your church, Jesus will be out of that tomb tomorrow morning. And that’s what really matters.”
Amen. And thanks be to God!