Third Sunday after Epiphany
Week of: January 26, 2020
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 1:10-18
Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose.
(1 Corinthians 1:10, NRSV)
"Worship Wars" — doesn't that sound like an oxymoron? Yet, it's something that can happen all too often in churches trying to provide different worship experiences to their faith communities. Traditional or contemporary, praise songs or hymns, robes or no robes, mics or no mics, slides or no slides — all of these stylistic tugs-of-war over which is better can get in the way of feeling "united in the same mind and the same purpose."
In this scripture, Paul calls us to "be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you." That's a pretty tall order considering the heated debates going on in our denomination — let alone the myriad of disagreements that can pop up at any given worship team, staff, or leadership council meeting! In our quest to be right, we can forget to listen to one another. In our fear of change, we can fail to appreciate the gift of new ideas. In our haste to leave behind outdated practices, we can lose the value of tradition. Our divisions can hinder our ability to be the Kin-dom people God is calling us to be.
When we get caught in a debate over which is better, we lose sight of the greater purpose: to bring others to Christ through a variety of worship experiences that resonate with the beautiful diversity of people we are called to serve. Keeping that purpose as our compass, we can navigate the challenges of collaboration and celebrate our differences, united in mind and spirit.
Dear God, thank you for the many ways your Holy Spirit is heard and seen and felt when we come together to worship you. Help us to appreciate and celebrate our differences as we work together to further your Kin-dom on Earth. Amen.
Director of Music Ministries
Herndon United Methodist Church
Photo: Members of the Young Adult Choir lead in Evening Prayer along with Mark Miller (right) at Music & Worship Arts Week 2019. (Fellowship photo by Daniel Craig.)