BY THE REV. CORY L. KEMP |
Twilight is my favorite time of day. Light and shadow play directly with each other; outlines clearly define what seemed more diffuse and without boundaries in full daylight. And the sky shows its full, wondrous depth.
It is a perfect time for worship.
Summer vespers carry deep memories and meaning for me, as I suspect they may for you too. My home church in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, had congregational cookouts on the lakeshore, followed by evening prayers, acapella hymn singing, and a message to complete our day.
One summer, Vacation Bible School was held from late afternoon to early evening, ending the day’s activities with worship before running out the door to meet up with our parents. It felt a bit adventurous, a little mysterious, to be in church at that time of day.
Church camp vespers were also near enough to another lake to welcome the waves lapping up on the shore as a benediction. Being outside, or in the large, rustic chapel when it rained, we were surrounded, filled, included with the goodness of creation.
I love worship as the conclusion of my day, gathered in fellowship after engaging the world. Bringing whatever has happened through the day, placing it on the altar with gratitude, is nothing short of humbling for its simplicity.
We each aim to live our day as faithfully as we know to do; then it is done, and our work for that day is complete. There is a peace, too, in being able to lay down the burdens of the day, breathe in God’s assurances, and exhale what needs to be released.
This particular scripture reading feels like a perfect vesper meditation to share with you tonight. “What should I do then? I will pray with the spirit, but I will pray with the mind also; I will sing praise with the spirit, but I will sing praise with the mind also.” (I Corinthians 14:15) In living and worship, we are human beings doing sacred work on God’s behalf. Yes, you and I pray, are inspired, by God’s Spirit. Yes, you and I sing by the power of the Holy Spirit. And, yes, our own spirits dance for joy when we pray and sing praises to God.
In living and worship, we are human beings doing sacred work on God’s behalf. Our minds are precious resources with which we are blessed to do that work. It is our minds that form the prayers that we offer to God. It is our minds that help us consider the words we sing in our praise to God.
In living and worship, we are human beings doing sacred work on God’s behalf. God likes to accomplish great, hard things. And God is encouraged daily by how willing we are to accept the invitation to help make those great, hard things the reality of God’s kingdom here on earth.
To be able to accomplish these sacred work on God’s behalf, these great, hard things, you and I need to pray with both the spirit and the mind. We need to praise God with both the spirit and the mind. It is that union that creates the reality of God’s kingdom here on earth in which we are all welcome.
And for today, the sacred, great, hard work is complete. Go now in peace to love and serve God another day.
About the Author
The Rev. Cory L. Kemp is founder and faith mentor with Broad Plains Faith Coaching. Cory, employing her signature Handcrafted Faith program, supports ordained and lay women leaders in visualizing, understanding and strengthening their beliefs, so that they may know, love and serve God and their communities with generosity, wisdom, and joy.