Guiding Principles: Question 1

Q: What’s at the center of our life?
A: An experience of the Living Christ.

At the center of our life together as Gloria Dei is the ongoing experience that Jesus is alive among us. As Lutherans, we trust that his living presence comes to us through good words read in Scripture and proclaimed in the pulpit; and in water, bread, and wine. Of course, Christ is present in all things, so I’m going to add “the gathered assembly” as one of our sacramental expressions. We know Jesus when we gather together.

When we designed our guiding principles, we realized that the one of the things we do together that touches the most people, 500 on an average week, is Sunday worship. Everything we do flows out of that time together. All our ministries connect back to worship. The council wanted to make sure that our plans for the future made it clear that worshiping together is the most important thing we do. Without it, we lose our energy, get dried up, wiped out, or just plain busy.

Here’s our first question for you as we roll out our guiding principles and figure out how to make them concrete: How will you engage worship so that it becomes more meaningful and relevant in your life?

Of course, we all will have a different way of answering that question. What’s yours? How will you make a commitment to worship and make the experience of the living Jesus the center, not only in your church life, but in your whole life?

One suggestion, as we enter the summer, is to make Sunday worship a priority for you, even in the Minnesota summer when we all want to be outside and feel the sun, your pastors included. If you’re traveling, find a church to attend. It’s always interesting to see how other Christians worship. If you come to worship on fewer Sundays in the summer, make a plan this year to come more frequently. It’s not as much fun without you here. If you’re one of the regular participants, think of a way to delve more deeply into the liturgy. Read the lessons ahead of time, or use the daily lectionary printed on the prayer list to read the bible every day. Take the prayer list with you and put it in a place that will remind you to pray for the people on the list. Listen to the sermons online. Sign up to be a communion assistant or an usher, something that will help you engage in the liturgy differently. Let me know if you’re interested in serving. Here’s a shocker: sit in a different place! Meet some new people. Deputize yourself as a chief of hospitality; make a point of greeting people you don’t know. How could we make everyone feel more at home? Think of something that would work for you.

We are rooted in Christ!

Pastor Bradley E. Schmeling