Yesterday was my seventh Sunday worshipping at Liberty, fifth since beginning as Associate Pastor, second as an ordained minister and first opportunity to preside over communion. While normally we worship outside in the summer, beneath a great oak tree (or two, I'm horrible about knowing the various species of trees), this Sunday called for rain, so we moved inside the big barn. And what a call it was - it poured throughout the service despite only a light dusting while I drove in to the church in the morning.
It has been slightly over a month since beginning here and I remember very vividly the feeling last week during the service, as I nervously looked to the bulletin to make sure I was ready for the next part of worship. I've always enjoyed worshipping, but leading others is a particularly difficult thing to do - you cannot simply get up there and "worship" yourself - you are there to assist others in worshipping. The balance is tricky.
But there was a point yesterday, as I stood on the stage and looked and listened to Phil, our part-time minister of visitation who was sharing the preaching duties with me while John & Becky are on vacation - it was as we led the congregation through communion - that I realized I felt... comfortable. Not the kind of comfortable where you can kick back your feet and not care, but the kind where you feel like you belong. I recognized it again when I Welcomed the congregation and gave the announcements - still my absolute least favourite thing to do in worship (announcements - welcoming is fun). And then, as I was handed "the count" after the service I felt it again, this time in a slightly different fashion. Someone else recognized that I belonged - enough at least to believe I should be the one "entrusted" with the attendance for the Sunday (a number after brief consideration, I was impressed with - people DO attend church on a rainy summer day!).
Why do I share this? Because it's part of where I'm at right now. I'm not a stiff, formal type of guy, and that feeling of belonging, of being comfortable is important to me, so that I can invite others to worship as well. Worship should never become "old hat" so that when you read Scripture, serve communion, or preach - or even sing, you don't recognize what an awesome thing you're doing - what a priveledge it is to participate - to lead others in worship of our awesome God. There should always be a touch of nerves that hits you as you ascend the stage or pulpit or open the bible... but not so much that it takes you away from what you're doing, that it inhibits you allowing others to worship - and hopefully, I've begun to get there at Liberty.