This Sunday is our annual outdoor Worship in the Courtyard, and, in keeping with the informality of the occasion, John Kleinschmidt and Ken Henry will provide some old-time gospel music on guitars for the gathering and closing music, including “I’ll Fly Away,” “Amazing Grace,” and “I Saw the Light.” A vocal quartet will help lead the congregational songs as well as several anthems, including “O Living Breath of God” by John Helgen and “Come, Spirit, Come” by Walt Harrah.
This Sunday at 10:00 am we will celebrate Pentecost-the birthday of the church, during our annual worship service in the courtyard. As a sign of the Holy Spirit moving among us, you are encouraged to wear flame colors-red, orange and yellow. Please feel free to dress casually, as this is an informal service and picnic.
Following worship, please plan to stay for food and fellowship. The Fellowship Division will provide the main course of barbecue and vegetarian burgers, as well as cold drinks and cake. Congregation members are asked to pitch in potluck-style with side dishes, salads, bread, cheese, and fruit or dessert. Games, activities, and a bounce house for young and old will be on hand to add to the festivities as we celebrate Pentecost Sunday!
Walter Brueggemann, an Old Testament scholar and theologian who recently spoke and preached at Westminster, once said that “the church meets to imagine what our lives can be like if the gospel were true.” As members of a congregation which prides itself on being “progressive” and “transformed,” it is easy to envision that we are setting the world on fire, which happens to be our stewardship theme this year. However, it is difficult at times to reconcile the minutiae of coordinating communion preparation and servers and the logistics of organizing the Easter breakfast, banners, pew rack maintenance, and flower arrangements with the joyful celebration of God’s promise to our world. But in that tenuous space between logistics and celebration lies committee work.
We like to joke about the Presbyterian affinity for complex organizational models, but in fact much of God’s work can be found in the details. Will new visitors feel welcomed by our congregation? Our membership subcommittee has organized greeters, flyers, buttons, and personal notes. Will our musically-inclined members find a place in the choir? Our adult and children’s choirs are complemented by the Singers choir and the newly-formed Life-Long Song class. Will our monthly communion services truly be a sacrament of personal transformation? As volunteers carefully dice bread and pour juice into tiny cups they transform hours of manual labor into moments of intense joy within our corporate worship.
What you see and feel in worship each Sunday are slivers of Christ’s light. Whether it is a commissioned anthem for the choir, a baby baptized, an artistic banner, a candlelight prayer vigil for refugees, a sermon that evokes both a chuckle and a tear, or a child’s pleasure in his own “worship bag,” the worship and music committee hopes to magnify those slivers of God’s transformative power. While much of God’s work takes place on Monday mornings in the Lounge or Thursday nights in the choir room, on the organ bench in the sanctuary or perched behind the sound system in the balcony, the manifestation of these “duties” move from behind the scenes into the forefront of God’s arena–our humanity made holy each Sunday as we worship and make music together.
Chair, Worship and Music Division