For 40 years of my adult life there was one common denominator to Sunday mornings, Church and Worship. Most often as a worship leader, sometimes as a participant. The experience was regularly meaningful and challenging and sometimes; boring and frustrating. Church was where my community was present and where I had a place, a position, a space. And when I wasn’t there, I was missed and I missed it. Sunday morning worship also created a rhythm for the week. It marked both the end of a week, especially when I had spent a good part of the week in preparation to lead worship, and the beginning of a new week. Attending worship became as natural and as important to me as breathing.
Now, in this “senior” season of life, Sundays are different. Yes, I still sometimes have leadership responsibilities on a Sunday morning but not every Sunday. And those responsibilities rarely take me to the same church two weeks in a row. I still have a need for community but my understanding of community has expanded to include wherever I might find myself on a Sunday morning.
The truth is that many Sunday mornings I now have a choice. That choice is about where to attend worship and whether to attend worship on that particular morning. The confession is that sometimes I choose to participate in life in a different way on a Sunday morning. This was difficult at first and in some ways hasn’t become any easier. It is not a freedom that I take lightly. The choice is deliberate and for me an experience of Grace because attending worship had become a “should”, a “must”, a “I’d better”.
This morning I awoke to discover the ground covered with an inch or two of snow with a coating of ice on top. Sleet and freezing rain was falling from the sky and everything sparkled. I got dressed and drove up to Saratoga State Park to go for a walk. It was awesome to be outside in the cool air, temp around 32 degrees, with the cold rain falling and everything covered with a glaze of ice. Each step was an adventure as I carefully placed my feet on the slippery surface. Each tree branch and bush was a piece of art as it glistened with its’ coat of ice. I prayed as I walked those two to three miles. I lifted my heart up in thanksgiving for the beauty that surrounded me and for the many blessings I have experienced in my life during this recent holiday season.
So, I confess, I didn’t attend worship today. Or did I?