Almighty God, creator of heaven and earth, the brilliant sunrise this morning bears witness to the wonder and glory of your power. Grant us the heart, mind and soul to praise your name and bear witness to your steadfast love. As people dig out from yesterday’s snowfall, we remember those who have no home. We pray for all who work in emergency shelters and for those who provide services to the homeless. Grant them wisdom, compassion and perseverance as they seek to help. We also thank you this day for all the men and women who clear our streets and roads and make it possible for us to travel. We ask in the name of Jesus, our Savior and Lord.
A couple of weeks ago, my friend Tim invited me to a spinning class. Usually when I go to a fitness gym, I work out by myself. I use a treadmill or an elliptical machine for my cardio workout and then some weight machines for the strength portion. I like having my own routine and control as I work out. A fitness class always seemed a bit too structured and I did not want to look foolish to the other participants as I learned the routine.
Tim encouraged me to come anyway. He assured me that it would be a fun and a new challenge. He told me to bring a sweat towel, water bottle, and my bike shoes; he showed me how to adjust the bike to my body; and he introduced me to some of the regulars in the class. He and the instructor told me that I could adjust the workout to my abilities and not to expect perfection immediately. As the class progressed, I discovered that I needed to relax and simply “flow” with the others, taking breaks as I needed them. By the end I was enjoying myself. Last night I went back for my second class with Tim. Now I feel ready to go to a class on my own, though I still plan to “spin” with Tim.
I think many people approach their first visit to a congregation for worship in a similar way. They wonder if they will do or say something wrong. They fear that they will not be welcomed nor helped if needed. It was the encouragement and assistance of my friend Tim that made my first class a positive experience. In the same way, it is the job or call of each regular worship attendee to welcome and assist the newbies at worship. What I especially appreciated about Tim was not only the invitation to the class, but the willingness to assist me in my first class. I pray that I can be as hospitable when I invite someone to worship at Resurrection.
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2
Have you had a memorable first time worship experience?