Living Vital Worship (Laity Sunday, October 9th)
I have a question for you this morning. Is worship a noun or is it a verb? Is worship something you go to, or is it something you live? This year’s theme for Laity Sunday, “Disciples Called to Action: Living Vital Worship,” it urges us to see worship not as a passive spectator, but as an active participant. Indeed, worship is something that we live every day. The scriptures we looked at today Matthew 22:37-39, Matthew 16:24, Micah 6:8, and Matthew 28:19-20 are important. When we look at these scriptures, it gives us the perspective of Love, Discipline, Justice, and Evangelism, we see that worship is what breathes life and vitality into Jesus Christ’s church, which he depends on us to spread. Disciples of Jesus Christ are called to be engaged in worship through the love of God and neighbor, through personal spiritual disciplines, though the act of justice, and by going and taking God’s love into the world. Worship is really a transformational discipleship and the Wesleyan movement was a vivid example of worship as a verb–living…vital.
In the United Methodist Church, laity take seriously their call to live worship through ministry as lay servants, lay leaders, lay ministers, missionaries, home missioners, class leaders, liturgists, congregational care givers, Christian educators, United Methodist Women, United Methodist Men, and so many other roles. At this time, I would like for everyone that has ever served in one of these capacities or worked to further Jesus Christ’s church to please stand (wait for applause). This is the church. It is not a building, but we the people.
Laity Sunday this year celebrates that true worship can only happen when laity and clergy live it together. Without the vital ministry of laity, the United Methodist Church would not be as it is today. Laity and clergy are disciples called to action, to living vital worship. I tell my wife all the time how I wish I had not retired so that I had the money to go buy this or that, that I want so badly. The logic says I would then get to take my grandchildren to do more things. I wish I had more money to take trips and have an easier life. But when I really sit down and reflect on it, money and/or things do not buy me happiness or show my family how much I love them. Talking to my family, working with my youth, working with my church, and supporting the mission of Jesus Christ in every way gives me more satisfaction, peace, calmness, and serenity, than anything I could every buy. God’s gifts are free. Wesley taught us that working for the Lord is the most important job we will ever have.
We as the church need to remember, that whoever our Pastor may be, we are the ministers of the church as well. We are all part of God’s team and team never has an “I” in it. TEAM stands for Together Everyone Acts Missionally.
I have worked for many employers, i.e., Sonic Hamburgers, the United States Air Force, Disabled American Veterans, etc., and I would not change any of that. But I’ve come to realize, they only met my physical needs. I have come to learn and understand that, God is the greatest employer you could ever work for. Micah 6:8 says, “He has told you, human one, what is good and what the Lord requires from you: to do justice, embrace faithful love, and walk humbly with your God.”