A few articles back I had mentioned that I had interviewed Dr. Jared Ross, the choir director of Barclay College and worship leader of Haviland Friends, for my worship class, and that I would be doing a series of articles on “what is worship” that is based on this interview. Jared has dedicated his life to the study of worship, getting his first two degrees in music and his terminal degree in worship leadership. When asked to find a worship leader (generally conceived in Protestant thought as a music leader), I went right to the “top,” and was not surprised that Jared’s insights were both very deep and very practical. I asked Jared, How do you define worship? His response was:
I define worship from three different angles: First, the overall biblical pattern of worship that we find from Genesis to Revelation is God revealing Himself to humans and humans responding, which means worship is ongoing; a relationship. God is not some distant deity; we have to respond to Him. I know that I have worshipped because I have been changed and transformed; when I have to obey what God is asking me to do. Then I know I have worshipped. Just because I have sung my favorite song does not mean I have worshipped. It is much more than the musical side of things. Worship is also Trinitarian… It has nothing to do with style. It has everything to do with who God is. We respond in belief, with thankfulness, and obey.
There are three things I want to highlight from Jared’s response that resonate with me as I seek to help lead others in worship. The first is that worship is a response. It requires something of us. It makes a claim on our lives. As we come before God seeking to encounter Him, we come expecting to be changed. I do not, however, see this change as always reflecting a movement from spiritual “mountaintop to mountaintop.” I do not expect that every Sunday morning worship will be an unsustainable, drastic life-altering encounter. Yet I do see worship as having an effect on us, even if its effect is slow and subtle like water dripping on a stone. Last week we did a worship activity with prayer rocks where we placed them back upon the altar signifying a willingness to let God use our gifts unhindered. Many people commented during open worship about how the smoothness of the prayer rocks reminded them of the slow and graceful way God had been wooing them along in the process of transformation. My experience with worship reflects this slow and steady work, where rough edges are hewn and polished into something beautiful. If when we worship we do not allow ourselves to be changed—if we do not come with an expectation that God will move through us—we might need to take a deeper look at our motivations for coming to worship in the first place. We as Friends believe that God is still speaking, and should come waiting in holy expectation for God to show up and make an impression on our hearts that leads us to action.
Next, I love that Jared points out the two-way give and take of a dynamic relationship. We come expecting God to reveal Himself to us afresh. We experience comfort for our afflictions and afflictions for where we are more comfortable than we should be. Worship is also Trinitarian in nature: the Father molds us as a Potter into a new creation, the Son redeems us and teaches us by His example, and the Holy Spirit gathers us together in unity as the people of God. We experience this not only as individuals, but corporately. We understand God, not merely as a proposition, but as a person of energetic and frothing immediacy. We connect with God in the present moment, experiencing union with His very identity.
Lastly, this experience is something we take with us into the practical realm of daily life. We follow through with what God is asking of us in sacred obedience. While God does give us mystical experiences and sweet experiences of ecstatic worship, these are not an end unto themselves but seeds within us sprouting up in kingdom building and living into our own unique ministry and calling. Worship then, as Jared points out, is not merely about singing our favorite songs. Worship has nothing to do with musical or liturgical style, formality or informality. It has to do with encountering God and exploring faithfulness together in a lived response to who God is.
What this means to College Avenue Friends, I suspect, is that we should come open to change, open to a God who still moves and still speaks to us and through us, and that we should come open to obey and be led by God. It is easy to put our conceptions of God in a box, a box where we resist change in our innermost being, a box where we rush off ahead of God in our impatience, and where we are closed off to anything that stretches us beyond the comforts of the safety and predictability in our lives. Yet without a willingness to respond with belief, with thankfulness, and with the courage to obey, we make our reservations to response a false god; we hold ourselves back from worship in ways that are justified by fear-based reasoning that stems from our worship preferences. As you wrestle with these three tensions and tendencies in our worship, what ways are you discovering an encounter with God that rises above preferences and style? In what ways can we revive a focus on who God is, rather than what we want, like, or enjoy; on encountering God in an ongoing relationship; and with a faithful response to what we are being called to do, not merely at Meeting for Worship, but out in the marvelous and mundane of our Monday through Saturday lives?
(Birthday Section Removed)
2 — 6:30 p.m. World Café II
9 — Noon Christian Ed.
12 — POTLUCK FOLLOWED BY MONTHLY MEETING FOR BUSINESS
14 — 6:30 p.m. Ministry & Counsel
19 — 2:00 p.m. USFW Martha Faye Circle
20 — Newsletter deadline
23 — 5:30 p.m. Golden Circle, Scheuermann Rm
29— 7:00 p.m. “Cultivating Agile Leaders”, Dr. Scott Cormode. Free program, Vermeer Global Pavilion
9:30 a.m. — Worship.
10:30 a.m. — Fellowship.
10:50 a.m. — Sunday School.
Dr. Scott Cormode will be giving a presentation on “Cultivating Agile Leaders” on Wed., Oct. 29, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. at the Vermeer Global Pavilion in Pella. This is a free event and open to the public.
Registration is required for the second day of Dr. Cormode’s presentations. On Thurs., Oct. 30 he will present “Cultivating Change”. This will begin with registration from 8:30 - 9:00 a.m. and end at approximately 3:45 p.m. The registration fee is $25 if postmarked by Tues., Oct. 21 or $35 if postmarked after Oct. 21 (this fee includes snacks, drinks, lunch and registration). For more information call 641-628-3141 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also visit: www.vermeer.com > About Us > Community > Vermeer Charitable Foundation > Leadership Alliance Events
“The C.A.F.eteria Line”
By Iola Cadwallader
What did you say? We have passed the Fall/Autumn Equinox, and on Del's birthday? Happy birthday, Del, and Happy Autumn to us all! FYI, the Equinox is the day the sun rises and sets in the middle of true East-West roads! Thanks, Eves, for reminding us.
CAF kids are always being awarded for something, and Karson Swim came out 2nd in her age group in a big "run" put on by Mahaska Health Partnership. She made it in 29:08.3, which indicates to this reporter that it wasn't exactly a hop across the street! Congrats, Karson!
It's never too late to share here a mid-summer joy for Pat Brainard's family-- the birth of Caroline Marie Brainard, born July 7th in Ohio! Big sister Evelynn, almost 2 1/2 at the time, highly approves of her precious sibling and shares plenty of loving pats and sweet talk with her! We're thinking that although our Greta (Tower) is older than Caroline Marie, every time Pat holds Greta after church, her hugs for Greta are for her new grand-baby also. Kurt and Laura are the happy parents, and it's fun to know that Caroline's middle name, Marie, is for Mom Laura's twin sister Holly Marie. Regulars at CAF morning worship know Holly is battling leukemia, and we're praying for her steadily! . . . How nice that Pat, and son Mike and his wife Amy spent a few days in Ohio checking on baby Caroline, then in coming through Indiana were able to be present for Mark Humphrey (Caroline Jeannette's son) taking as his bride a wonderful woman named "Nicole!" Congratulations, Mark and Nicole, who are settled in near Rose Hill! Keep alert, ladies, for the upcoming Shower for them-- a Shower that's about "happiness," not "rain!"
Aren't we proud of the group that went to Mesquakie, near Tama, IA, that Saturday to help with some refurbishing of that site which is part of our Iowa Yearly Meeting ministries! Great thanks to Norm & Connie Sneller, Chuck & Margaret Watson, Mike Rucinski, Scott & Michael Biddle and Ron Bryan. James sent regrets because of a meeting and many others sent prayers for safety of the workers on ladders, etc. Connie & Margaret took food and cheered the crews on! Thanks, thanks!
Family support is a blessing to so many at CAF! But a case in point was the "validation with wings" that Don & Marilyn Swim received from Stacy's and Kara's families when they gave a 50th wedding present to their parents/grandparents this summer-- tickets to Oregon to visit Dick and Dianne Marr who are weighed with Dick's cancer challenges. It was heart-warming from beginning to end-- the gift, the trip, and the memories!
More next month . .
On September 5, 2014, Church Women United met at College Avenue Friends for the Fall Forum. We served 24 various churches in Oskaloosa women for this occasion. This is not a business meeting, it is set aside each year to have a speaker and get needed updates and a social time.
Debbie Howe, Director of the LOVE INC office, spoke to our group about what Love INC is doing for our community and how we can help in various ways by volunteering, donating and praying for this ministry.
A brief overview: “Our goal is to mobilize the church to serve the community. This includes:
Budget Counseling Financial assistance
Love In the Name of Christ is a non-profit Christian organization that is run by partner churches in Mahaska County. In 1998, Love INC was introduced to Mahaska County by six local churches who saw the need for local churches to reach to our community in the name of Christ.
Today Love INC is governed by a board of directors consisting of members from our partner churches. We are primarily funded by our partner churches, private donations and United Way.
Love INC acts to connect people in need with churches that can meet their needs. All requests are taken, screened and then referred to an agency or church for a volunteer.
College Avenue Friends is a member church and we are encouraged to:
Get involved in a work project
Volunteer to be a driver for a client
Volunteer to be a companion for a client or help with various projects
Donate used/new goods and furniture
Help out at annual events”
“To be able to pray with and encourage those in the community who have nowhere else to turn is truly a blessing.”
Phone: 641-676-3750 E-mail: email@example.com
Submitted by Becke Arnold
WEEKEND GET AWAY
Our Thursday evening Bible study group would like to invite any boys, young men and older men to a log cabin along the Cedar River, near West Branch. This cabin was built 45 years ago by the youth group of the Friends Church. It is a beautiful and rustic cabin without modern amenities. It has no electricity or water. You know you love an outhouse!!! It will be great time to enjoy the fall colors and each others’ company. And most importantly to hear from God.
What to bring: Bible, fishing gear, air mattress, sleeping bag, pillow, matches, towels and toiletries, your own food. We will have things to cook on and containers of water and coolers. If you want to go horseback riding, Cedar Valley Stables is nearby but it costs $35 an hour to rent a horse. There is no other fee involved for the weekend. Come when you can and leave when you must.
For more information and directions, check with any of the following: Darren Radcliff, Jason Morad, Kip Schuler or Tom Palmer.