Paul Weichman, in black, serving as the Sacristan at St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oak Harbor, Ohio.
Bible Readings and Devotion for October 8, 2020
Here are the references for the readings. Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:
Devotion for October 8, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
Psalm 95 expresses the physicality of worship. Read it again right now. See the words and phrases which reminds us of fully expressing ourselves. Our times of Worship and Holy Communion get to be a giving of our whole selves over to the Lord. Worship is, in a sense, a participation sport. It is not just something we watch or listen to, such as we would a movie, television program, or a piece of recorded music. Our gatherings for worship are powerful contexts for actively showing our love for God.
A good friend of mine, Paul Weichman, died in June of 2019. This photo was taken in 2014 when we were visiting with Paul and his wife Anna in Ohio. He served as the Sacristan at our church in Ohio. A Sacristan is a sort of stage manager and teacher for worship. The sacristan serves in partnership with the pastor. Paul loved his Lord Jesus Christ with all of his heart, soul, mind, and strength. More than any one I have known, he understood that we both experience God’s love and express our worship of God through all of our senses. He delighted in the Sacraments (Baptism and Communion), and he helped others to comprehend how wonderful these gifts of God are. Paul grasped well the power of symbolism, and his work with images, props, banners, and action brought people around the Word and message of our gracious and loving God. Rather than alone, Paul worked to get people involved in these beautiful messages of God’s Grace. He had great love for young people, and he involved them frequently in the grand expressions of faith which Paul engineered. Paul was involved in the design and construction of every banner depicted in this photo.
We are all invited to find ways to put our whole selves into worship of our Lord. We get to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. That means our whole selves. So, as you worship, be in a posture which helps you focus. Sing out in the songs and liturgy responses. Utilize gesture and facial expression to show God your appreciation and worship. Prepare for worship with prayer and privately reading of the scriptures before the service.
Worship also includes experiencing things and connecting with God’s provision. Some of this is hearing the music and the singing. Other aspects include listening to and watching the readers and preacher. Most congregations utilize visuals in some form, such as banners, stained glass windows, projected image, props, and the action of worship leaders. The sharing of the peace as well as other personal connection points add to our experiences
The Sacrament of Holy Communion is central to our life as Christians. For me it is the most meaningful and powerful ongoing connection with the Lord. I feel that this is, in large part, because it is so strong is connecting with our senses. Here are just some of the ways we experience God’s love and connection with this sacrament.
Hearing – the Word of God that tells us what is going on – the statement, the Body of Christ given for you; the blood of Christ shed for you. The singing and movement of others.
Vision – the worship leaders and their actions. The elements of bread and wine.
Touch – the elements, the chalice or cup, the bread. Also, the connection between the servers and those receiving
Taste – the bread and wine surely have flavor, and the wine will be especially memorable.
Smell – the communion elements, the aroma of the sanctuary. If you church uses incense, then you will have that aroma as well.
I encourage you to strive to make intentional effort to schedule worship with your faith community on a weekly basis. It is a sacrifice, but it is so foundational to how we live out our lives of faith and community. Also, if your congregation does not yet offer weekly Holy Communion, prayerfully consider working with your church to move that direction.
Worshiping the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength is much more available and present that many of us would have thought at first. When you gather with others, I invite you to give your whole self for the Lord.
Gracious and holy God, give us diligence to seek you, wisdom to perceive you, and patience to wait for you. Grant us, O God, a mind to meditate on you; eyes to behold you; ears to listen for your word; a heart to love you; and a life to proclaim you; through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.