Weekly Worship Piece: Call to Worship–Power

One of the beautiful aspects of our congregation is that people besides me preach on a fairly regular basis. This coming Sunday the intelligent and thoughtful Joe Casad will continue our worship series on Jesus’ disciples by focusing on the crowd.  Have you ever noticed how much “the crowd” shows up as a character in the Gospels?

I haven’t heard Joe’s sermon yet, but I do know that he will be exploring issues of power–who has it, how they have it, and what they do with it. The crowd seems to control the “powerful” (Pilate, high priests) in ways that it does not control Jesus. (This is interesting stuff!  You should definitely make the trip to Peace Mennonite for Joe’s sermon🙂

So, in light of the sermon topic and feeling overwhelmed by the political climate right now, I have written this call to worship:

Leader: We need a break from the power-obsessed crowds.
Side 1: Who can speak the loudest?
Side 2: Who can debate the smartest?
Side 1: Who gets the most tweets?
Side 2: Who gets the most hits?
Side 1: Who has the most money?
Side 2: Who has the most weapons?
Leader: These crowds that push and pull and chant and yell.
Side 1: These crowds that cause fear.
Side 2: These crowds that are afraid.
Leader: We are part of these crowds
All: And we need to step away.
Side 1: To rest here, with God, the One who is truly powerful.
Side 2: To listen here, to Jesus, who will teach us the power of the cross.
Leader: We need to rest. To listen. To breathe.
All: May it be so. Today. Amen


Rest for the Weary

My devotional scripture reading for this morning was Matthew 11: 28-30:

 ‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’

As soon as I read “Come to me,” my spirit filled in the rest of the passage and a gentle smile emerged on my face.

“All you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens.” That’s me! I’ve been facing some stress at work lately. (Which probably goes without saying for a pastor.) I am experiencing a heightened level of stress at home as my husband and I continue to deal with the challenges of parenting. Summer presents its own wearying rhythm of three kids going in different directions at different times; it’s been hard for me to keep up this year.

This week it’s been a little difficult to roll myself out of bed in the mornings. Hard to resist the draw of a late afternoon nap. Easy to curl up in bed with a book as soon as the kids are down for the night.

I haven’t been happy about my weariness. I’ve been frustrated that I’m not getting more done. I’ve felt guilty for taking a nap when I should be starting supper. I’ve felt like there must be something wrong with me to stay in bed past 7:00 in the morning.

So I’ve been praying for energy. I’ve been praying that I might feel perkier, do more, sleep less.

And now I hear these words from Jesus: “Come to me . . . and I will give you rest.”

Not energy. Not motivation. Not a good swift kick in the pants.

Rest. Rest for your soul.

And as Christ gives, may we graciously receive. Amen.