Attempt number two (here is one)
Good afternoon, and welcome to the Place of Prayer, I am Chaplain Wesley, and I wanted to spend a few minutes this noontime to think about worship.
For many of us worship is a set time during the week or the year. We come from a such a rich background of religious traditions, that worship means and occurs in such different manners. For some of us it falls on a Friday, for others it is on Saturday, for some it is Sunday, and for some there is no set day. Some people worship around the dinner table with family, while others worship while kneeling, others stand, and still others worship in pews. But worship is more than just these traditions.
Worship is praise
I believe that too often we limit worship to something we observe rather than live.
Worship can occur throughout the day, anytime and anyplace. Worship can be as simple as opening our eyes to a new day, because worship is our praise to God.
Whether that praise is made verbal through prayer, kept silent in meditation, enacted through the lighting of a candle, or embodied, it is all worship.
Worship is praise for what God has done in our lives and will continue to do in our lives.
I know that right now it may be difficult for some us to worship God, because of the fear we may have regarding a procedure, or perhaps we are mourning the loss of a loved one, or maybe it is difficult to worship God because we have doubts of who God is to us.
Well even those emotions: fear, mourning and doubt can lead us into worshipful experiences because those emotions become your words of praise to God.
My guess is you may be wondering how fear, mourning and doubt can become praise.
I believe that we are praising God when we face our fears, when we admit our doubts and when we mourn together, because we are ultimately giving our emotions and ourselves to God. Our emotions are one way in which we can connect with our deeper self. Worship begins with God, but its end and goal is the transformation of human life so that we may feel God’s presence with us, wherever we go.
That is how these emotions are able to be transformed into worship, it is when we see who God, our creator has been in our life. One poem, a song, from my tradition worships through these words:
“Come let us sing to the Lord
Let us give joyous shouts to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come before God with thanksgiving
Let us sing God psalms of praise
For the Lord is a great God,
The great king above all else.
God owns the depths of the earth,
And even the mightiest mounts are Gods.
The Sea belongs to God, for God made it.
God’s hands formed the dry land, too.
Come, let us worship and bow down,
Let us kneel before the Lord our maker.
For the Lord is our God.
We are the people God watches over,
The sheep under God’s care.
Oh,that you would listen to God’s voice today!”
The writer of this poem was able to see that worship can occur anywhere, because God is the Creator. Even in the depths of the earth, in the darkest hardest places, God is there. Even in the sea, the chaotic, tumoltous ocean, God is there. God is there in the ER, in the operating room, in our offices and in ICU. Here at JFK, God is here, for God has made all things.
God, the creator of our lives, watches over us. So even in our deepest feelings of hurt, fear, mourning, and doubt God is there with us. It is this realization which allows us to live lives of worship. One which is not bound by a set time or place, but one that struggles to live a worshipful life at all times.
I imagine that hospitals can seem like large, scary and lonely places. But please know that God is here with you. This closeness allows us to worship through praise and prayer to God.
So let us turn to God in prayer now.
If you are struggling to see where God is, or how you might worship God in your own way during these difficult times please know that there is a Pastoral Care office here for you. And if you are able to come, the Place of Prayer on the Second floor is always open and available for people of all faith traditions to worship their God.
Thank you and may God bless you.