By Rev. David Cameron
(This blog is the second in our worship series; Click Here to Read last week’s blog)
My maternal Grandma was the mother of twelve children. Because of this, and some of Grandma Smith’s children continuing the tradition of large families, I have more cousins and second cousins than I can count.
Some of my favorite memories of this family host are of getting together to celebrate Grandma Smith’s birthday with a bonfire and weenie roast. All the family would come out to the farm, where firewood had been collected over the last few months, and soon the pile of wood was blazing as we roasted hot-dogs, ate and visited. My grandmother loved having everyone together, gathered around the fire.
As the night grew old and the fire began to die down, some of the guys would grab rakes and start poking at logs with them, then raking the results towards the center. When I asked “Why?” I was told “They are pulling the fire together so it will last and stay going.” I soon learned it was also much better for roasting marshmallows that way as well.
I guess these memories are one of the reasons I’ve always loved the hymn, “We Are God’s People”. The fourth stanza of the hymn reminds us: “We are a temple, the Spirit’s dwelling place, formed in great weakness, a cup to hold God’s grace; we die alone, for on its own each ember loses fire; yet joined in one the flame burns on to give warmth and light, and to inspire.”*
I always enjoyed being out at Grandma Smith’s, but it was never as lively, as fun, or as exciting as when we were all gathered together laughing, talking, celebrating around the fire. There was a closeness there because of why we gathered, who we were celebrating, and who we were together.
This is how I picture our worship on Sundays. A family, gathered together in celebration of God, united in purpose, aflame with the Spirit.
Just like that bonfire, it’s good for us to pull our fire together, physically. Choir members understand how being close to other singers helps reinforce words, breathing, pitch, the very sound waves we create when singing. Strengths are multiplied, and weaknesses uplifted.
Likewise, it is good for believers to be close together as we worship. Physical closeness helps to kindle the Spirit, the joy, the song of worship within each other as we hear each other sing together. I encourage you to move towards the front of the sanctuary for worship and to sit with other worshipers so that we bring our very best as we sing our praise to God. You’ll hear the speakers and singers better, you’ll hear each other better in song and spoken word, and you’ll be closer to one another in our worship of God.
I haven’t seen most of my cousins in several years. Once Grandma Smith passed away it wasn’t long before we stopped having the bonfire together. Then other get togethers stopped. The one who was pulling our family fire together was gone, and no one stepped up to remind us and pull us together.
Jesus is still working to pull His family together, physically and spiritually. Let’s pull our fires together and see just how wonderful a glow we can find in each other as we worship, pray, and hear God’s word together as family.
With love and blessings,
*”We Are God’s People” by Bryan Jeffery Leech © 1976 Fred Bock Music Company