We are changed
Change is hard for most people.
One of our council members counsels us, “Don’t use the word change.”
I lived long enough in Jersey City to begin to understand how change becomes anathema for people as the neighbors on our block changed so many times, I used to joke that I even had new drug dealers’ names to learn.
And yet, Paul in I Corinthians 15 writes: “Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”
This is the heart of Christianity: not just change but radical change – resurrection is a complete transformation of life AND death. We, perhaps, understand why the women leave the empty tomb “afraid because . . .” (That’s really how it ends in Mark in the Greek: “afraid because . . ..” The author seems to expect that his listeners are able to fill in the blank).
Sometimes the changes that are made in worship are hard for people. Worship planners, including Douglas and I, do not make these changes willy, nilly but in hopes of helping worship come alive. That happened on Palm/Passion Sunday for many people. One woman said, “I’ve been on altar guild all this time, and I’ve never made that connection before, just amazing.” One person said they weren’t going to come to worship because they really don’t like Palm Sunday, but he was glad he came because we helped him experience it in a new way. We even heard words as extravagant as “magnificent.” This is the goal of worship planners: to help people experience faith or have a new insight, an aha moment.
Worship planners are really experimenters. Sometimes we try something in worship or in our life together in community and it works; sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it works for some and not for others, but we keep trying even in spite of occasional grumblings and dislikes because when it works – nothing short of the glory of the Lord is revealed; we are lifted up; we are changed, if only for an instant.
If the Spirit moves you, come and be a worship planner or the next time there is a change, wait and see, you might just find yourselves carried by the Spirit to a new place.