Every Chance We Get
I must admit… I love church services! I honestly don’t know if that makes me strange or not. Having worship on a Sunday morning is such a wonderful way to connect with the spirit of God along side God’s people. From the opportunity to sing together and pray together to the inspired words received from the pastor’s message, it is so good to be able to recharge from a long and busy week and prepare our hearts for what is to come. After having visited with so many great people that are my church family and having had my soul fed, I walk away on Sundays feeling as though I’m walking on air! With so many blessings coming from my worship experiences, it leaves me hungry for more!
At Shawnee St. Paul’s, lucky for us, we are not limited to connecting with God and our church community solely on Sunday mornings. Some of my absolute favorite services are the special ones that prepare us for the season ahead. There’s something captivating about our sanctuary on an evening. It just feels different. Also, the unique elements and order of worship in these services can also be very engaging as they differ from what we’ve grown accustomed to on a Sunday morning. During the season of Lent we hold services for Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. They both have such depth and are emotionally moving. On Wednesday, November 28th we celebrated the beginning of Advent with our Hanging of the Greens service in preparation for Christmas Tide.
Fellowship over homemade chicken noodle soup was the perfect way to begin the night as children made their own tree ornaments and decorated sugar cookies. Great conversations were had by members who have called St. Paul’s home for a multitude of Christmas seasons and those who are experiencing their first advent with us. The buzz around fellowship hall was exciting. Once the Chancel Ringers bell choir concluded their rehearsal of the theme song for our upcoming sermon series, City Sidewalks, joyful and smiling people began to pour into the sanctuary and prepare for the role they would play in the service.
As Christmas hymns were being sung and the rich meanings of each adornment was explained through readings, those in attendance also symbolically brought the finishing touches to the chancel. Children brought sprigs of holly to lay upon the altar table while elders of the church placed Mary and Joseph into the nativity scene. Then it was a beautiful thing to behold as people of all ages and backgrounds came up together to hang the Chrismon ornaments on the tree just before it and all of the garland around the chancel were illuminated simultaneously! What a joy to worship together in anticipation of the coming of the Christ child!
Yes, I love church services. It’s the passion of being in love with God and loving those around us. It’s the opportunity to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit while in harmony with brothers and sisters in faith. It’s the deepening of our discipleship. It’s the praise, glory and honor that our Savior deserves for blessing us so abundantly. What were you doing Wednesday night?
Shawnee St. Paul’s has a dynamic pulse and is just waiting for you to feel the beat. Look into the ways our doors are open for you to connect with the Lord and our church family. The sanctuary is open Monday through Thursday from 9am to 4pm for you to pray at the altar rails or in the pews while taking in the beauty of the stained glass. There are bible studies and Sunday morning small groups to wet your appetite for scripture. There are community dinners and non-profit missions to serve our neighbors. There are meaningful services every Sunday to fuel that growing fire of faith within you. And, there are those special services that always touch your soul in ways you wouldn’t expect.
The next of those special services is coming up on December 20th, Blue Christmas, followed by Christmas Eve, with two unique services at 6:00 and 11:30 that will truly sweep you away in the spirit of Christmas. It’s my prayer that you will crave more and more of these communal experiences that bring us closer to God and each other. Amen.
Tate Monroe, Director of Discipleship and Development