I’ve been a member of this church for seven years now and on the Council of Elders for three years. To support our Minister, Brad and the congregation, I’ve been participating in studies to fulfill the Uniting Church’s requirements for Lay Ministers. My leading of this service has come out of those studies.
With the CONTENT of this Sunday’s service, “Worship as Manifesto”, and my focus on today’s lectionary reading, Isaiah 65:17-25, I want us to begin to think through some of the economic and political implications of the gospel of Jesus Christ. What is the Kingdom of God? If God’s will was done on earth as it is in heaven, what would that look like? How would things be different? How am I helping to build God’s kingdom here on earth? Can I use the economic and political resources that I possess to help build God’s kingdom?
I want us to be able to say “I choose to worship. Worship is what I do. It is my policy, my manifesto. I offer every act and decision I make to God for the building of his kingdom; and on Sundays, I celebrate with His people.”
With the FORMAT of this Sunday’s service, getting to know each other and discussing issues and plans in small groups, I want us to experience an alternative way for us to spend our time together on Sunday mornings. Our church is not able to support itself financially without the hard work of our Op-Shop Co-ordinators and Volunteers. We are grateful for their work. But our church needs to change. We must find other ways to do church so that we can lift our income, drop our expenses or both. Our church time together on Sunday mornings has to build connections between people and it has to deepen our understanding and our living of this faith. It seemed to me that small group studies during the service would be a good way to attempt this. Imagine if we repeated this format every week, keeping the same groups week after week. Our respect and love for each other would grow deeper as we learnt more of each other’s lives and journeys.
Sunday morning also has to allow us to recognise God and worship Him; in spirit and in truth. I hope you are able to do that this morning as well.
May today’s time of “worship” broaden your understanding of what “worship” is, may it challenge you to offer your political and financial decisions to God for the building of His kingdom and may you strive to make worship your manifesto. Ralph Reilly