Last weekend I was in Las Vegas at a conference called RELEVANCE X where young adults from across the United Methodist Church got together to learn, worship and serve together. There were many amazing God moments that were part of that conference and most of them were unplanned. Times when God was present as always, but we made room to notice. One of those moments for me was when the speaker, Jim Walker, invited us to sing the Doxology together as a prayer before he spoke. I have sung this song many times in many churches. Typically with organ leading the way and voices joined in a bored tone. I have never sung it with a large group of Tongans before. While the fact that they are Tongan probably means less than the fact that they can sing harmony, I was appreciative of the gift of their culture and what it means to sing in community. Singing in their midst, the boredom went away and I felt like I was singing out of praise rather than duty or habit. It was the same song, but the music felt fresh. It felt like an authentic offering of praise.
As we spent the weekend thinking about how to make our faith fresh and relevant to new generations, I was thinking that it is the same gospel, the same God, the same story that has been shared for centuries. But when we bring our gifts and experiences to it fully, when we don't hold back but bring our very best, when we let go of fears and open the door to whoever the Holy Spirit has invited to hear, it's like we're singing a whole new song.
And now for your enjoyment... same song, fresh music... by Gungor.
Someone you care about is hurting. There are many broken hearts out there. Come and place them in the loving arms of God. Give a gift of love. Love is for more than sweethearts.
Bring them with you to worship on Sunday for anointing and prayer. Or come yourself and take home a prayer shawl for them.
Wesley Worship at UC Merced COB 114
Sunday, February 12th at 8:00 PM
What does it mean to worship in a meaningful way? Every community answers this question differently. As we build our community on campus, we get to come up with our own answer. The Christian tradition is full of expressions of worship- from very formal to informal, lots of silence to chanting to full bands or orchestras. Lots of talking to no talking.
To have a better idea of what is possible in worship, we will be taking a variety of field trips. Some will be right here in Merced, but to start off with a bang we'll be traveling to Berkeley for a late night excursion. Newman Center at Cal has a 10 pm mass that is meaningful for hundreds of college students. We're going to check it out, have our own moments of worshiping God there and then think about what might be meaningful in our own context and how God is leading us. I think it sounds like fun and I hope you'll join us as we begin the journey on February 13th.