Monday, September 17, 2007

Do you believe this?

My friend John Allen's blog included this last week. He's a big fan of Laurel Masse ... I don't know her stuff, but her blog says loads about her faith sensibilities. And what an incredible story.

Six years and a day.

In my church, we had a meeting yesterday afternoon to discuss a new approach to response in worship ... not for every week, but for every now and then. Why would we want to do that? Far too often we assume that the "response" in worship is just for:

  1. those professing their faith in Christ publicly for the first time;
  2. those joining the church having moved from somewhere else;
  3. those rededicating their lives to Christ after a season of living otherwise;
  4. those answering a call to full-time vocational ministry; or
  5. those requesting prayer for a crisis need.

If none of those is me, then I just bide my time until the service is done (and I get antsy if it lasts too long -- whatever "too long" means), or I go ahead and leave to make some pressing after-church engagement (usually involving food or recreation). But here's the truth: when God's word is proclaimed, we all respond in some way. That's why we call the hymn after the sermon the Response Hymn rather than the Invitation Hymn. Of course we understand that there are many opportunities to respond to God during the course of the service. I love the liturgical pattern "The word of the Lord," "Thanks be to God." That's a response to God's revelation. It's coached, but it is a response.

Laurel Masse's story is one of spontaneous response ... pure and unadulterated. "Do you believe this?" "Yes." Can you hear it? Can you just imagine the sincerity of heart behind it? Oh that we would learn to be as children and respond to the words of Christ as the little one behind her did that day! What a profound message! There should have been many voices responding ... if not "yes", then "I want to", or "I'm working on it", or "I don't know yet", or ... or SOMETHING.

That's enough to think about for now.

That's enough to think about for now.



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