Author Archive

Community, Spiritual Formation, Worship

Worship should be more like VBS

We just finished the annual week of Vacation Bible School here in Modesto. It is one of the weeks that seems to take an incredible amount of time and energy to make happen, and all you need is a reason to cancel and save yourself from that prep time.

But then the week begins, and the kids arrive, and things start to happen, and you begin to get a glimpse of the growing possibilities for the kids and the adults who are making it happen. What a great week of activity center based growth in living and following in the Jesus way. We used as our base theme and materials Be Bold! God is with you by the Mennonites. Ten different activity centers encouraged us to think and try being bold. Being it repelling from the church roof (awesome), to sessions on prayer, breaking down walls that divide us as people, learning about our Prayer Shawl ministry and trying to knit, and of course the standard creative expressions in art. In 5 days, we all took steps to becoming bolder in our living for God. 25 minutes of worship, singing, and Bible story, and then 1 1/2 hours of time engaging one another and God.

Maybe that is the mix we should be striving for in our worship times on Sunday morning. 25 to 35 good minutes of gathering as God’s people, and an hour of good time interacting with each other and God that would bring us more fully into relationship and experience. I’m talking about more than a station folks could go to but a major reworking of time and experience. Not sure how or if we will get there, but it sure is interesting to dream about.



Easter, Spiritual Formation

Thinking about the Resurrection

First, I hope that your journey through holy week is bringing you more fully into the Jesus story and deepening your hunger and thirst to pursue God’s justice and righteousness in the world. Blessings as you walk through these final days and the celebration of Easter.

Ah, Easter morning. How to help a congregation engage the story of the resurrection. Diana Butler Bass in her blog for Sojourners when she overheard someone ask the Rev. Daniel Corrigan if “he beleived in the resurrection?” He looked at the questioner and said firmly, without pause, “Yes. I believe in the resurrection. I’ve seen it too many times not to.”

I think that his answer requires us all to stop and think about what we believe, know, have experienced. It is easy to say Christ is Risen! but to have experienced or seen the fruits of resurrection in the world today is a different thing. If we cannot give testimony to the power of God, the presence of Jesus, by talking about where we continue to see and experience the newness of life that the resurrection story bears evidence to, we are telling a dead story that has no power to transform, make whole, and save God’s world. I think that people are waiting to be invited into their role and experience in that kind of living, ongoing story. May our Easter messages and worship services be ones that celebrate the power of God’s spirit to change and transform, to resurrect and make new, still today!