Devotional for February 12, Worship that Feeds People

Written by Pastor Mark

Theme Background

We are focusing on our new theme of Eat, Share Serve.  Today we are looking at worship that feeds people.  We have a lot of language which describes this type of worship.  Someone leaving might declare that they were inspired by worship today.  Martin Luther described sacraments (and therefore worship) as “that which moves the human heart.”  That movement can come in many forms, in laughter or in tears.  It may come in the form of laughter, or anger.  Some people are fed in worship when they find themselves thinking about something in a new way.  Others are moved by an in-depth study of the Bible.  Many are moved by music.  The music that effectively moves people’s hearts is as different as the people who gather to worship.  For some it’s a traditional, well known hymn accompanied by an organ.  Others enjoy praise songs with guitar and drums.  Pastor’s stay up nights trying to figure out worship that will move and inspire as many people as possible, while not angering people who might not like it.

In our worship planning process we analyze each weeks worship, but we do not just throw open the discussion for any comments.  The first question is “Where did you experience God this past Sunday.”  The question forces us to look at where God is moving, instead of focusing exclusively on the holes of what we would have liked.  Those holes are limitless and impossible to fill.

Our biblical reading from Romans today tells us to be sensitive to others as we go about our work.  Craig Nessen the author of the book, “ShalomChurch” says that we need to be aware of our f.o.o.i. (foo-ee).  This stands for family of origin issues.  Much of what we prefer in a worship can be centered in what we experienced in our own families.  The tendency is to think these preferences are universal—that what we prefer is what everyone would prefer.  It can be shocking to realize that others experienced something completely different—even when they share our faith tradition.   The important part is to make sure that everyone is fed.  Every week we put together a meal of worship, hoping they will come and eat and be fed, and then head out into the world to feed and bless others.

Quotes for the Week

Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.

–         May Sarton

A cat can be trusted to purr when she is pleased, which is more than can be said for human beings.

William Ralph Inge

“Fiction is one of the few experiences where loneliness can be both confronted and relieved. Drugs, movies where stuff blows up, loud parties — all these chase away loneliness by making me forget my name’s Dave and I live in a one-by-one box of bone no other party can penetrate or know. Fiction, poetry, music, really deep serious love, and, in various ways, religion — these are the places (for me) where loneliness is countenanced, stared down transfigured, treated.                                                                                                                   David Foster Wallace

Hobbies of any kind are boring except to people who have the same hobby.  This is also true of religion, although you will never find me saying so in print.

Dave Barry

1st Lesson: Romans 14:1-9  (The Message)

Cultivating Good Relationships

 1 Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with—even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently.

2-4For instance, a person who has been around for a while might well be convinced that he can eat anything on the table, while another, with a different background, might assume he should only be a vegetarian and eat accordingly. But since both are guests at Christ’s table, wouldn’t it be terribly rude if they fell to criticizing what the other ate or didn’t eat? God, after all, invited them both to the table. Do you have any business crossing people off the guest list or interfering with God’s welcome? If there are corrections to be made or manners to be learned, God can handle that without your help.

5Or, say, one person thinks that some days should be set aside as holy and another thinks that each day is pretty much like any other. There are good reasons either way. So, each person is free to follow the convictions of conscience.

6-9What’s important in all this is that if you keep a holy day, keep it for God’s sake; if you eat meat, eat it to the glory of God and thank God for prime rib; if you’re a vegetarian, eat vegetables to the glory of God and thank God for broccoli. None of us are permitted to insist on our own way in these matters. It’s God we are answerable to—all the way from life to death and everything in between—not each other. That’s why Jesus lived and died and then lived again: so that he could be our Master across the entire range of life and death, and free us from the petty tyrannies of each other.


Gospel Lesson: John 21: 15-19 (The Message)

15After breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter,

“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Master, you know I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.1

6He then asked a second time,

“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

“Yes, Master, you know I love you.”

Jesus said, “Shepherd my sheep.

“17-19Then he said it a third time: “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. I’m telling you the very truth now: When you were young you dressed yourself and went wherever you wished, but when you get old you’ll have to stretch out your hands while someone else dresses you and takes you where you don’t want to go.” He said this to hint at the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. And then he commanded, “Follow me.”





Questions for the Week

What are some of your family of origin issues?

Where did you experience God this week?

What about worship inspires and moves your heart?


About pastorcourt

Courtney McHill is the pastor at Rose City Park United Methodist Church in Northeast Portland where they love compassionately and inclusively!
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