By Ray Gryder
[Note: This post originally appeared at Ray's blog, 'Living Like You Mean It']
Happy New Year!
Well, we’ve reached the end of our look at the ‘Spiritual Stones’ of ‘Living Like You Mean It’ with a closing discussion on ‘Worship’ with a good friend of mine, Ben Saunders. We spoke the day after Christmas on the grounds of historic, Slash Christian Church in Hanover Co., Virginia.
Ben is a divinity student at Vanderbilt. He is a ‘Jesus Follower’. He has a passion for sharing his gifts. As a young person studying to go into some formal aspect of ministry he is very committed to seeking God’s face in the people he meets and in the experiences he encounters.
For me, talking with this friend, a young man many years younger than I, was a breath of fresh air. Knowing already through our shared small group ministry time together and our dedication to support of men’s ministry, how intelligent and optimistic he is, it was so refreshing and encouraging to hear him speak to the subject of ‘worship’ and expand so confidently on his ideas and opinion. I told him so as you will see when you watch our video discussion . It’s a great discussion of approximately 20 minutes; well worth the view.
This young man is living proof that something wonderful and exciting is happening right before our eyes. God is still speaking and working through Ben and other young people like him. He is ’living like he means it’.
“Worship has traditionally been boxed into a liturgically structured experience of the divine…lots of forms of liturgy…but its not limited to that…worship can happen anywhere…What sets worship apart separately is that its a community oriented experience of the divine.”
Going further with our discussion, Ben and I talked about where worship and the ‘church’ might be headed in this 21st century? Is the church dying? Is the church experiencing it’s next ‘great awakening?’ People seeking connectivity through experiences where they can see God’s face in the people they meet.
Ben explained how many of his friends are interested in seeking ‘authenticity’ in liturgy minus the fluff of what’s being marketed to them.
‘People are seeking relationship…looking for something where they can see and experience God where they are’.
For me as a ‘Jesus Follower’ seeking relationship, connection and seeing the goodness and love of our Creator in others is what this life is all about. Our communities are full of people ‘living like they mean it’! Go out and ‘listen’; hear their stories and share in the joy of having them share their experiences with you; don’t be afraid to ask.
I hope you will continue on this journey with me and continue to strive to ‘live like you mean it’.
I pray that you will take time to connect with others in the presence of the Creator in some form of“…worship…a community oriented experience of the divine.“