Worship Service Updates
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” - Philippians 3:12
The Canonsburg UP Session met on Monday night, in the sanctuary - because the Fellowship Hall (where we usually meet for this meeting) was being used for ministry - people finding healing, wholeness, sobriety and freedom through one of the 4 recovery groups that meet on our campus weekly! If we’re to be displaced by something, that kind of gospel ministry is the best reason. And if we’re going to be moved anywhere, the sanctuary is the best place!
We had a great meeting, which was kicked off by hearing the faith statements of 7 students who graduated from the Faith INKubators (Middle School ministry) program and desired to take the next step in their relationship with Jesus by joining us as members of Canonsburg UP Church. It was pretty exciting!
Next, we spent time reflecting on the eye-popping vision of the post-resurrection, no-holds-barred vision of Jesus that John of Patmos shares in Revelation 1:12-18. What great questions and insights your Elders had! This is often a highlight of my time each month with them.
And then… the rest of our evening was spent considering the next steps we could take forward in being faithful to Christ’s call as a gathered community, especially with regard to our gathered worship. Once again, the care - the care of our full community - was at the heart of their deliberations and discernment and I’m honored to sit alongside them in this task.
I’m happy to share a few things that came out of this - the bibles and hymnals are returning to the pews! For those that want to look up the music to an unfamiliar hymn, or sing the harmony, or check just who the songwriter is again, or when was that song published? They hymnals are once again back out. And for those that hadn’t brought their own bible and want to read ahead or find the context of the passage we’re looking at on Sunday, the Bibles are back! We’re learned a lot in the past year about this virus and the Session feels comfortable that seating every-other pew, the weekly fogging of the sanctuary and the low likelihood of this virus being transmitted by surface touching, means that the bibles and hymnals being available is more beneficial than the minimal risk they might present.
Additionally, in the next few weeks we will be rolling out some simple, revised bulletins with information about upcoming events and the order of worship printed on them. For those who enjoy something to hold on to, or like to take notes (but can’t find a sticky-note or blank envelope), this is for you! For those who prefer not to use paper, we’ll also be scrolling pre-service announcements and have a QR code on the slides that you can access the order of worship from your phone or tablet, whether you’re in the sanctuary or online.
I hope these steps forward help you and others more comfortable as we gather, make it easier for you to worship and help you grow in your relationship with Jesus - after all, that is the mission!
Which leads me to one last reminder…
This year has been tough - and I know I don’t need to remind you. But if our goal is only to “return to the way things were” - well, we’re going to miss a huge opportunity, that I believe, is being used by God.
God is always calling us forward. We hold on to Jesus, to God’s promises, led by the Holy Spirit forward because in all of our past success, we’ve still not yet arrived. The form of church, the style of worship, the method of discipleship, the means of mission and ministry may have been good… but God is calling us, believe it or not, to be better. God is calling us to be more faithful and more fruitful in this next season of our lives than in the past.
What will be key for us, is to discern what God is calling us to grab a hold of and take with us from the past (like the bible - we’re never letting go of that!) and which things we’re going to let go of, so that we can be more faithful and fruitful in the new world God is birthing around us.
I’m glad we get to do this together, and I’m glad to be,
Welcoming YOU to Grow in Jesus,