October 23, 2016 at Warren Wilson Presbyterian Church
(Submitted by Corise Gambrell)
Beth welcomed everyone with a special welcome for visitors, and she encouraged visitors to sign the register of attendance.
She reminded the congregation that the October Just For Fun will be Trunk or Treat in the church parking lot next Sunday, October 30, from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. This week, Beth will contact those who signed up to provide treats.
For the second Sunday in the Season of Gratitude and Celebration, the focus was on Goal IV – Enhance the Worship and Music Experience. Corise Gambrell provided an overview of the goal. Diana Sanderson talked about the importance of the choir and their leadership in worship, reminding everyone that when you sing “you pray twice.” Doug Orr talked about the historical importance of music in the Swannanoa Valley, beginning with the Cherokee, to the Ulster pioneers who brought their love of music and their hymns, to those who were founders of Warren Wilson College and the Chapel.
The Chapel Choir led in the Introit, Let Us Come to Worship God, with accompaniment from both the organ and chimes.
Hythe was outstanding in his first solo as acolyte.
During the Time for the Child, Beth and the children discussed the difference between a play and worship. The audience applauds the performers at a play, but we are all participants in worship. In worship, God is our audience.
As liturgist, Pat Levi led a responsive Prayer of Confession and reminded the congregation that the Deuteronomy lesson was God’s charge to Israel.
The Anthem was Praetorius’ Jubilate Deo sung by the Chapel Choir.
The Second Lesson was the story from John of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. Beth chose this passage because of the emphasis on worship and because of the lessons taught in the story. Beth pointed out that the PCUSA has a Directory for Worship, as part of the Book of Order. She wondered why it is so important to us to see that worship is conducted “decently and in order.” We all have friends who are spiritual but do not find the need for corporate worship. Beth said she kept coming back to the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. In that story, as the woman and Jesus talk, the points are made that worship is boundary breaking, relational, and life changing. This discussion helps us see what worship can be. In our church school class, we read Nadia Bolz-Weber’s book. Accidental Saints. Bolz-Weber is the pastor of the House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado. She says that Christian worship should focus on the proclamation of goodness, the administration of the sacraments, and the forgiveness of sins. We need to get these three things right first as we worship. Polity helps with good worship, as does music and planning, and we also need to remember not to let things like a faulty microphone or hymns we don’t favor get in our way. The liturgy for today’s service came from the resources of the Iona Community. Beth quoted John Bell, from Iona, in an interview he did on worship:
“When people say they want to keep their traditions, I have to ask whether that is the same as the liberated Hebrew slaves wanting to avoid entering the Promised Land. There is a Back-to-Egypt Brigade in every congregation which cannot seemingly cope with the fact that we are no longer illiterate 17th century worshippers who need to be spoon fed by the only educated man in the parish; nor can they appreciate that the only constant about tradition is that it changes. God calls us to be signs of the coming kingdom, not a theme park dedicated to an ecclesiastical past. But by the same token, when worship is reduced to a feel-good factor, where people come or go depending on whether the praise band is making them happy by singing their favorite songs, then we have gone down the road of hedonism in which our ego is more important than our Maker.”
While change can be scary, we need to be open to change as the Samaritan woman was when she met Jesus at the well.
The Choral Blessing was Carl Daw’s variation on For the Life that You Have Given.
Coming up at Warren Wilson:
- October 24 – Moral Monday returns to Asheville, 4-6 PM, Pack Square
- October 30 – Just For Fun – Trunk or Treat, 5-7 PM
- November 6 – All Saints’ Sunday, and remember this will be the morning after the time change
- November 6 and 13 – Fair Trade coffee, tea, olive oil, and chocolate orders
- November 16 – Empty Bowls Fundraiser
- SVCM needs volunteers for the Homeless Shelter