By The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster

Dutch Reformed theologian Abraham Kuyper wrestled with the relationship between the worship liturgy and a sincere posture of prayer. He says that the liturgy—our worship service—is like “a husk around a seed, a riverbank cradling a current, clothes that dress the body, an institution that supports an organism.” When we worship together, the liturgy itself does not “guarantee” a sincere approach to God’s throne of grace. Instead, the liturgy channels or holds together the divine-human relationship. Worship carves out a way toward God’s presence and protects us as we bring our whole selves into all that is vulnerable about the presence of God. 

Practicing the art of worship week after week, year after year, we are like athletes or musicians, limbering up for what comes next. The liturgy this morning or last Sunday or next Sunday might not perfectly-every-time bring you specifically into a sincere and authentic experience of the divine, but the liturgy is preparing you for what comes next, for the nearness of God and the transformation possible when we draw near to Christ. We can in fact, trust that God is working in us despite the days when God feels distant.

May the spirit of God well up in you as you pray.

Let us pray:

Gentle me, Holy One,
into an unclenched moment,
a deep breath,
a letting go
of heavy experiences
of shriveling anxieties
of dead certainties,
that, softened by the silence,
surrounded by the light,
and open to the mystery,
I may be found by wholeness,
upheld by the unfathomable,
entranced by the simple,
and filled with the joy
that is you. Amen.
—Ted Loder, b. 1930

Please click here to join us for Summer Worship online this morning at 10 a.m.