…and I don’t impress easily….Both my husband and I were brought up in a Pentecostal denomination. We are both, 3rd generation Pentecostals. When we attended regularly we heard a 40+ minute sermon, generally, which included scripture. Either the text was read before the sermon by the speaker or it was woven throughout the sermon or teaching.
We have been for the past 15+ years now affiliated with a Liturgical denomination. We attend regularly and participate in the church life pretty much as fully as we possibly could without actually be pastors. Teaching, working with the Healing Ministry and continuing to write for the benefit of the whole body of Christ.
I have come to appreciate the worship in both. Each has their appeal. We pray everyday for the missionaries and friends we have in the Pentecostal denomination and are very much aware of the goings on in that part of the body of Christ. We have come to appreciate the style of worship in our Liturgical congregation and in particular the opportunity for the whole congregation to be involved in the service of worship.
I moderate a group of a dozen people or so, who meet during the Sunday school hour to pray for the state of the world and the church. This morning one of the gentlemen had to leave a bit early, which is not really a problem.
I did say something after class to the group about not minding if people have to come late or leave early as I appreciate their participation in the life of the church, and can pray anytime anywhere. I was told that the reason he left early is because he was to read the Scripture in the second service and he had memorized it and wanted to go through it another time or two before he had to read. The Scripture was a difficult portion today. Isaiah 5:1-7 and Philippians 3:4b-14. This man reads often, maybe once a month. He’s been doing this for as long as I can remember. He is a man’s man, original Navy Seal, well educated and one of the kindest men I’ve ever met. He is a little older and has had some health problems in the last couple years, as we do when we age, but ‘he is still memorizing Scripture’. I am awed, challenged and grateful to know him personally and honored to have him present in the prayer group that he and his wife initiated. I am IMPRESSED again!
The opportunities for participation in the actual ‘service of the Lord’ in my church has caused me to rethink ‘Church’. The children participate from a young age of about 10, and they learn reverence and duty, as Acolytes. There are several steps and each step teaches them more responsibility in the service of worship. They have their own choirs from toddlers on up to high school. Every member can participate is the service of worship. I truly love that! Worship without service to the body and one another no longer seems like worship to me.
Don’t take this wrong. Everyone can do something within his or her fellowship no matter the denomination. We are called to love one another and serve one another, but our command from Jesus is to go into the entire world and preach the Gospel, where does that fit in? Jesus also said, that the world will know we are Christians by the love we have for one another. Everybody needs and wants to be loved. That’s ‘one’ really wonderful way to preach the Gospel.