FreerangeFriday: The Invitation to Worship

by Lilly Lewin
Worship 1

by Lilly Lewin

Continuing the series of Invitation in Advent…

When you think of the word worship, what things come to mind?

Where are you when you worship God/Jesus?

Are you inside a building or outside in nature?

Are there places or people that remind you to sing Hallelujah or cause you to express some form of praise when you see them or are in the midst of them?

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I’ve always experienced God outside. The heavens really do declare the Glory of God to me and for me! I met Jesus at camp in the mountains of North Carolina and places of beauty have always spoken to me of the presence of God. Sunsets, a beautiful full oak tree, a mountain vista, a butterfly, or a pink rose remind me of God and cause me to pause and praise Jesus for all he has done. I am most at home near water and it usually involves a cold climate not the Caribbean !

I also experience God in art museums. The beauty of art speaks to me of the beauty and creativity of God.
Creating my own art has become a daily practice of connecting with Jesus and a way I worship. I take my journal or sketch book to church gatherings and my crayons and/ or colored pencils and draw during the service as my way of expressing my love and praise and processing the worship time.

You might have thought Singing or music when I brought up the word worship. That is how many American christians define worship…the first half of the service that involves singing. I do know how to raise my hands and sing for half an hour. That used to be one of my favorite ways to connect with God.
It is only one way we can worship.

How does your community need an expanded its worship definition and move beyond singing worship to the multitude of other ways we can express love to God?

Think about how you express love to your friends and family…what are ways you show them love?
You aren’t exactly worshiping, but you are expressing love and honoring them with your gifts. You might try these ways to express your love to Jesus!

Advent is a time we are invited to bring out our gifts
Advent is a time we are invited to worship God with us.
As we move towards Christmas and the Christmas Season, remember that Christmas is a season not just one day! We get to keep celebrating and remembering December 25-Jan.6th!

In the Christmas story we have lots of ways to worship.
The Angels sing.
The shepherds, who are outside in the beauty of the fields, go and see! They get active. They don’t just roll back over and go back to sleep.
Mary ponders things in her heart, so she gets quiet and pays attention.
Maybe Joseph builds something in response …a cradle or a rattle since he’s the carpenter/craftsman.
The Shepherds are also the first evangelists, they keep telling the story of what they heard and saw!

What is your invitation this Christmas?

How are you invited to Worship Jesus and express your love?

Consider the shepherds… they go seek out and look for this baby.
Imagining these young and old guys, and some say girls too were shepherds because of their lowly status, all dressed in their rough hewn woolens with maybe a lamb or two, or their sheep dog in tow, wandering the back streets of Bethlehem listening for a baby’s cry or knocking on doors with the lights still on, seeking the manger…the SIGN the angels had promised. A baby wrapped in swaddling clothes.

How are you being invited to look for Jesus?
What journey are you being invited on or where are you being invited to look for signs of Jesus? Maybe finding Him in unlikely or unexpected places.

Maybe your invitation is one to be still and to ponder things this Christmas. Like Mary. To take time to reflect on all the amazing things that have happened this last year. All the ways God has been in the details of your life. Taking time to be grateful and praise Jesus for these gifts!

This pondering might mean you need to sit with the questions of the last year. You might need to consider all the mysteries and the unanswered things, not just the good gifts.

Or your Invitation to worship might need to be tears. We aren’t very good at tears. I’m not good at grieving but I do know that as Christmas arrives, I am grieving the pain of this year and the last several years…the losses, the wars, and needless suffering caused by those conflicts and the greed of our broken systems.
Grief too can be an act of worship.

When we have experienced Jesus, when we have been touched by the beauty and love of God we want to share it.

What has God done in your life this year that you’d like to tell others about? Who do you need to tell about God’s love like the Shepherds did?

I mentioned above that I thought Joseph might have made, created something for Baby Jesus as an act of love. I think that the other gifts of worship that Joe brings to the Christmas story are presence, protection and trust. He was there for Mary, he protected his family, and he trusted in what the Angel told him and honored Mary and this new born baby. Have you seen these things as acts of worship in your life?
Maybe your invitation the Christmas is to be like Joeseph. How can you be more present to Jesus, to yourself, to others this Christmas season?

Italian Mary and Joseph

Mary and Joseph

We worship differently in different seasons. None is better than another. If God is changing you, your way of worship, or if you need a new way to worship, don’t let anyone shame you for this. This girl who wanted to be on Broadway, who took voice lessons and did musical theater throughout high school learned to experience God way beyond music and singing! Through art, pilgrimage, silence, beauty, creative prayer and now I much prefer contemplative quiet to loud.

There are different worship flavors for different seasons of our lives. And so many different ways to worship that can draw us closer to Jesus in the months and years ahead!

Worship changes us, transforms us…Mary and Joseph were definitely changed by the arrival of Jesus!
The shepherds were never the same after visiting baby Jesus that night. What about you?

What is your invitation? How is Jesus inviting you to worship him this Christmas? Know that you are welcome to try new things! And you are invited by the the Creator of the universe to be creative!

Receive the invitation to worship as Advent ends and this Christmas season begins! Be open to the adventure of love that Jesus has planned for you! Happy Advent and Merry Christmas! Lilly

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If you need or want to change how you worship and you are feeling lonely or if you feel like you are the only one, know that you are not alone. There are lots of us out here who are looking for you! In the new year check out Christines’s new podcast ‘The Liturgical Rebel”

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Christine Sine’s new podcast!

©lillylewin and

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