Sunday morning I paused for a few moments to allow the latecomers to find a place. About to give God’s greeting, I said that we could wait and that I didn’t want anyone to miss out on this element of the worship service. “This has got to be one of the best parts of the whole service!” I said. Some might have thought I was being humorous.
I was being serious.
People stand. I raise my arms. “Grace and peace to you…” I say.
These are not my words. And these are not words from Telkwa CRC’s leadership or from church history. These are Biblical words from God Himself. As a pastor, there’s a simultaneously awesome and humbling thought right there! Think about it: Using my voice, God is welcoming you, expressing His pleasure that people have responded to His call to corporate (that is, group) worship.
The Worship Sourcebook says that these words of greeting “establish the lines of communication in worship. God always comes to us before we come to God. So it is fitting for worship to begin with Scriptural words that convey God’s greeting to us” (p. 56).
As we gather for worship, one of the first things that’s affirmed is that God has graciously brought us together, and that He is mysteriously yet wondrously present whether we come in joy or sorrow, praise or doubt. I certainly cannot think of a better way for the worship experience to begin each Sunday morning!
(Related: “Let Us Stand for the Benediction: Reclaiming the Lost Art of Blessing”
by Lee Eclov at LeadershipJournal.net.)