Seeking Jesus with opened eyes and a flaming heart!

In one of the opening pages of the United Methodist Book of Worship, a basic pattern of worship is offered based on the Emmaus account found in Luke 24:

As on the first day of the week the two disciples were joined by the risen Christ, so in the power of the Holy Spirit the risen and ascended Christ joins us when we gather. As the disciples poured out to him their sorrow and in so doing opened their hearts to what Jesus would say to them, so we pour out to him whatever is on our hearts and thereby open ourselves to the Word. As Jesus ‘opened the Scriptures’ to them and caused their hearts to burn, so we hear the Scriptures opened to us and out of the burning of our hearts praise God. As they were faced with a decision and responded by inviting Jesus to stay with them, we can do likewise. As he disappeared and sent the disciples into the world with faith and joy, so he sends us forth into the world. And as those disciples found Christ when they arrived at Jerusalem later that evening, so we can find Christ with us wherever we go.

Examining, and re-examining, worship is an important practice in the church, lest our services become stale and lose their purpose. Pastor Rosedanny had an idea the other day to offer a Reflecting on Worship session next Thursday, August 17, at 6:00 p.m., in person and on Zoom, in Wesley Hall. This will be a listening session for your worship leaders to hear what you love about Spring Valley worship as we go forward. Everyone is welcome. We’ve also created a worship survey. Click here to share your experiences of Spring Valley worship:

Speaking of worship, our new series, “Bless this Neighborhood,” starts Sunday! You’ll recall last week I said I would include 10 of 50 ways to connect the church to the community for five of these articles. Here is #s 11-20:

11. Get out in your neighborhood. Walk the streets. Map the area, and record your observations. Note how the community is changing.

12. Assess community needs and assets. What are the needs of your context? Who are your neighbors, and how can you serve them?

13. Be attuned to where God is already at work in your community.

14. Know that ministries that truly bless a community often arise out of conversations where you listen for the hopes and dreams of people in your community.

15. Interview residents of the community. Sit in a park, diner, or coffee house. Ask simply, “What are your challenges, hopes, longings and dreams?”

16. Get to know the major public officials. They are people with tremendous influence. They need to know of your church’s commitment to the community.

17. Involve many people from your church in this work. Hold one another accountable to the tasks of engaging and learning from others.

18. Discern clusters of issues and concerns that arise from these conversations. Ask what issues, suffering, injustices, or brokenness might you address.

19. Strive for meaningful engagement with others, not superficial gestures.

20. Make sure you are reaching out to people for the right reasons. If your motive is simply to get them to come to church, people will see right through to it.

Join me for a prayer walk (read #11 above, again!) next Thursday August 17, at 8:00 a.m. And sign up for a companion study I am leading by clicking here:

Seeking Jesus with opened eyes and a flaming heart!