October 7th, 2013 by Carl Buffington
I told someone again this week how thankful I am to be part of this church. I really love Sunday mornings and all the ways we can experience the Lord's presence. Here are three: there is scripture, there is the sacrament, and there is the Spirit.It's the three streams of our Anglican tradition.
Fr. Christopher said Sunday in his sermon that when we bring live, living issues to the Word of God we can expect transformation. It is good to come to the Word for information, for knowledge, and the promise is that it's never a waste of time, never void of value, but when we come with our living issues we can expect to encounter the living Word and be changed in his presence. That's why we take preaching so seriously. We seek to have something to say; not just to have to say something.
A pastor from a non-denominational church once said to me that what he liked about our Anglican way was that not everything hinged on the message. In other words, he saw the liturgy and the sacraments as having value that didn't depend on an individuals performance on a given day. We say we believe in the "Doctrine of the Real Presence." God is present in the sacrament even on our bad hair days. Isn't that good to know? My friend might have mentioned our love of mysterium tremendum as well.
Of course any and all experiences of God come via his Holy Spirit. One place where the charismatic expression is available in our Sunday morning is in the times of worship and praise. We take time to lift up our hearts and one reason for the repetition in the lyrics is to allow it to move from our head to our hearts. Another thing we have been doing is allowing us to include our own notes to the Lord, sing our own song to him. Like when you send a greeting card and you put in your own note, share your heart. Hallmark is good, but not all that personal. And scripture tells us that God inhabits the praises of his people, his presence again.
So in addition to the fall program and seeking his presence in mission, ministry, worship, the word, prayer and the Holy Spirit we have Sunday mornings! So many ways God is present, it knocks my socks off. Apparently, that actually happened according to the scriptures. I am sure some of us relate more to one way or stream more than the others, and that is fine, so long as we make room for others who prefer the other streams or ways. I am a person who finds God most often in journaling, solitude and contemplative prayer - and yet I can't describe how much I love our praise sets on Sunday morning. And while I love to prepare my sermons and seek a word from our Lord, I have never walked away empty from any sermon at our parish. And, the sacrament and the mystery it holds - well, it's a lifesaver week after week.
Thanks to you all for being part of New Covenant and making it such an incredible place to worship in his presence.
"In His Presence" Fall small group study videos and discussion questions