The point of worship is “GO”

By Fletcher Lowe

First Plymouth Church, Lincoln, NE

Go, my children, with my blessing, Never alone.
Waking, sleeping, I am with you; You are my own.
In my love’s baptismal river
I have made you mine forever.
Go, my children, with my blessing – You are my own.

Go, my children, sins forgiven, At peace and pure.
Here you learned how much I love you, What I can cure.
Here you heard my dear Son’s story;
Here you touched him, saw his glory.
Go, my children, sins forgiven, At peace and pure.

Go, my children, fed and nourished, Closer to me;
Grow in love and love by serving, Joyful and free.
Here my Spirit’s power filled you;
Here his tender comfort stilled you.
Go, my children, fed and nourished, Joyful and free. *

This has become for me one of my favorite hymns.  The text moves through the worship experience, and then says GO.  The point of all that worship offers is focused on the GO.  That makes the Dismissal the most important part of the Liturgy.  Everything points to the GO: What is the value of the hymns and prayers and music and sermon and silence and the bread and wine, but to prepare us to GO into our worlds of home and work and community as the Baptized to live into our discipleship.

The Episcopal Church’s Baptismal Covenant (Book of Common Prayer, p. 304-5) underscores this:  After the Baptismal Creed is recited, the Covenant moves from the first two vows focused on the Baptized congregational experience to the last three (proclaim, seek and serve, strive) that say the point of the first two is to GO.  Each person goes to church to GO to be the church in his/her world of daily life.

Think of a base camp for the hiker: It is there to prepare and support the hiker. It is not the destination.  It is there for the hiker, not the hiker for the base camp.  Translate that to a congregation. It is there to equip and support its Baptized members for their ministry/calling/vocation in their daily life.  It is there to say “GO, your destination is not here but rather your daily life.  GO and be the church!”

* Hear this Jaroslav Vajda hymn beautifully sung, at this site.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.