the view from the pew 8-27-16

Yesterday’s service was the kickoff for the church’s medium and large-aged kids youth group school year followed by a spaghetti dinner and discussions by leaders as to upcoming events. Pastor led the service and was accompanied, musically, by the youth leader.

The church designed, made and painted a 6’x6’ art piece resembling the orange and red flames of The Holy Ghost within the saved. It’s the second time it’s been used in service and each time I keep staring at it. It was nicely made but the tip of one flame is broken off and its unpainted jag stands out. And stands out. And stands out. The next time you see that ‘thing’ on a person’s face, force your self not to stare at it.

The sermon centered on The Book of Hebrews 13. It explains how pursuing the materials of the world, in this case food, pales to what God wants us to do for others. We center ourselves in a target meant for our desires. Our notions of success can come from grades, athletics, popular friends, talents, abilities, or inherited wealth. God’s plan for our success is to praise Him, do good for others and share with them. If the message is understood and accepted by kids in junior and senior high school it can relieve the pressures of what it means for them to be triumphant in a world under orders of ego.

Saturday service introduced me to background music during sections of the liturgy until yesterday were only spoken which begged the question: When does music become a distraction? Our youth leader was called by The Lord to serve at Holy Cross and as such deserves respect as stated in Hebrew 13:7-8

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

He is musically and theologically talented, full of The Holy Ghost. He plays a mean funky-chunk guitar as well as delicate meanderings meant for background accompaniment. I have a question as to when it is most beneficial to use talents laid upon by The Lord. As pastor read the Gospel According to Luke, he was joined in by guitar playing. I was taken aback and lost track of where we were in the reading. I couldn’t help but go back and forth from the reading and the music and then just gave up. Even with reading along on the screen or in the bulletin there was no way I could concentrate fully on Jesus’s story of the seats of honor. The same happened with the words of institution, before communion, where Jesus explains the meaning of the blood, the flesh, the wine, and the bread. For me, any words from the Bible require deep concentration and reverence. There is a time for reading, responses, prayers, hymns, offerings and benedictions and I believe each needs to be treated as a separate entity, each clearly expressed for the benefit of all but especially for the one who is lost among the 99 who are familiar with the liturgy.
I don’t pretend to know how to develop a service but I know what has served me well. I am an old man but every day I am new to the faith. I learn something nearly every day, week, or month, often the hard way but mostly through Grace.

Lamentations 3:22-23. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

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