The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


More habits

Thoughtful participation in worship enables us to catch Christ's spirit

As promised, join me again this month in pondering six more basic, healthy habits for worship (see also August, "Habits").

Sing together, blending your voices into one: the great voice of the body of Christ. Musicians are there to lead, not perform. The assembly is there to join the song, not to be entertained. Singing together is a great experience and increasingly rare in our culture. It’s an opportunity to spread joy, share sorrow and give voice to hope, yearning, gratitude and love.

Listen—which is no small feat. Another cultural challenge is that we’re used to seeing the story as well as hearing it. And it’s difficult enough to follow the plot of a soap opera, let alone the stories of ancient Israel and the first Christians. But the Spirit helps us listen to the word, opening our ears to hear God speaking. The One who loves us beyond all telling is telling us just that. Enter into this living dialogue and expect that when God speaks things will happen.

Put away your pew Bible and bulletin insert so you can truly listen. This is a lively dialogue with someone we love, so we don’t want to be distracted by anything.

And during times of silence, don’t pick the lint off your lapel or check your pocket calendar. God is speaking in the silence too.

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