I’m a preacher. Most Sunday mornings you will find me standing in Bethel’s pulpit, sharing with the people who’ve come about the things I’ve seen in the day’s Bible passage, and what it means for our daily lives. Knowing it to be an important part of my calling, I put quite a bit of time, energy and prayer into the preparation of these messages.
Last week I was talking to one of the members of our church. We were chatting about how things were going in our ministry, and I asked her if she thought my last sermon was helpful for the congregation. After a bit of spluttering, she confessed that she couldn’t remember what I had preached about. I told her not to worry, because sometimes even I can’t remember what I all said on the Sunday previous.
Here’s where this conversation made my mind go: When it comes to things of faith, occasional mountain-top experiences are wonderful. A concert featuring music so sublime that it makes you weep. A conference speaker whose words reach into the core of your being and change the way you look at yourself and the world. A painting which captures at bit of the essence of divine glory and draws you into the mystery of God.
Just as wonderful, though, and even more important, are the routine and familiar opportunities provided to us. Singing the songs of faith Sunday after Sunday, with the members of the choir and with those who can’t carry a tune in a bucket. Hearing the gospel message shared once again by that same old preacher, who will never be awarded a medal for oratory but who speaks with conviction and a certain stammering winsomeness. Seeing the beauty of wood and stone and steel shaped for the purpose of worship, and recognizing beauty in the diversity of faces, smooth and wrinkly alike.
It’s in the repetition of gospel-telling that the truth takes hold in us. It’s by standing in the moving stream of worship and fellowship that we are refreshed. It’s by basking long in the glow of our magnificent Lord, in the company of our fellow recipients of his mercy, that we are deliciously warmed.
If the regular worship of the Lord is your practice, you know exactly what I’m writing about. If it’s not, I invite you to come visit Bethel on Sunday morning and start a fresh habit. Be prepared for blessings to come!