If Easter is my annual liturgy, my offering for my people, then for the rest of the year, I am a displaced Levite.
I have a sermon coming up in a couple of weeks. Well, it’s more like four weeks. I’m going to speak about Reverence, and the Sacred Space within. It sounds fluffy already. It’s probably pearls before swine in terms of the young people and young adults that I’m speaking to. But I hope that part of it will take hold, and a root will go down. I might for a short season call these people, my people, and spend the next few months of my time with them, being a Levite for them.
In the truest sense of the word, I desire to prepare the temple for them, and lead them through rituals of deep meaning, liturgies of deep reverence, profound repentance and precious adoration of a spent out Lord. I have dreams of this people estatic in praise, not because of a pendulum swing in expressive style, but because if the Lord will bring us to our knees, surely he will give us cause to raise our eyes to heaven.
I was thinking about how luscious and rich our worship services are for me. It’s almost selfish, the way in which I layer my thoughts and practices, so that if nothing else, the people have had opportunity to dive into a rich pool of intentional corporate praise, personal prayer and repentance. The only part that sometimes feels empty is the response from people.
I instructed and asked for silence and reverence in one part of our service this week. I was critiqued by one of our young adults that silence and reverence should be by invitation and choice. I was stunned. For a moment, I questioned whether to take on a Levitical approach to the preparations of this work is presumptous. But I have remained sure in my footing on this one.. it is sometimes appropriate for the people to take instruction in how to offer praise to the King. There are times where no instruction and all freedom ought also to be given, but these things must live in tension.
However, I still feel a displaced Levite, making temples out of tents in the desert, and offerings out of skinny sheep. This thought is increased in me, as I spend more time bringing music worship offerings in other places. At Northgate, in our morning service, and this week we go to Te Atatu United Methodist .. something. Going to strange places where I don’t know the people, the story, the ambience to lead them in rituals of deep significance. May the Lord be with me, as I go.