Church was nice, today. There was a nice crowd. They hymns were good. The singing was good. The organ was very nice. There was the right balance of laughter and prayer, the right mix of the personable and the transcendent.
I have been thinking about the importance of worship, what it means to us and to the world that there are these small clutches of people who gather each week to listen to God’s word and sing his praise. Even those who do not believe in God or religion ought to be able to recognize the value of a community singing together. In a world where people are throwing bombs and bottles, where store windows are being smashed and ancient relics destroyed, where the biggest event of the weekend and leading story on the news is a three-hundred million dollar fist fight – it is good that some people get up and come together to sing. Not to shout. Not to protest. Not to rant. Nor to post selfies, but to sing together.
This simple act declares that that we were made for harmony. We were made for praise. We were made for joy. And even those who don’t want to admit that “we were made” must recognize the value of remembering that human beings are capable of harmony. The worshiping community, for all its weaknesses and faults, bears witness to the possibility of harmony.
All the component parts of a traditional worship service – confession and forgiveness, prayer, the telling of the story, the sharing of the peace, the sharing of a table, the giving of a blessing – all these traditional elements are not archaic remnants of a primitive superstition, they area a persistent witness to what human beings could and ought be.
Despite our experience of divorce and troubled families, we continue to get married. We can’t let go of the notion that we were meant to live together in love. And despite the failures of religious communities of all kinds, we continue to come together for worship. We can’t let go of the notion that we should live in communities of mutual care.
In a world of great violence, some come together not because they are friends or an interest group or an advocacy group, but because we can live differently than the constant shouting of our world. We can sing. We can sing together. We can sing in harmony – or at least towards harmony.
Christians are the bearer of a story that we were created in harmony and destined for harmony. It is important for us all that they continue to sing that song.