We prefer the obvious. We like to be sure. But faith is something else indeed. Hebrews 11:1 reminds us that faith “is the conviction of things not seen.” Not seen? Like a treasure hidden in a field, or like yeast mixed in the flour, hidden and mixed in. That’s how grace works. So how do we find it and how do we celebrate it? By telling the stories, by pointing it out. Glory sightings, some call them. Sharing with the whole body the moments of joy and grace that we experience day by day. Often, our prayer time is one of petitions, requesting more of the Spirit in our lives or in the lives of those we love or the world as a whole. An important and necessary part of our ongoing prayer life, to be sure. But we can also give thanks and praise for all that has and is happening in our lives of faith. When we gather. it can be a time of celebration, as well as a time to grieve together and ask together, “How do we tell the story of a hidden grace or the elusive kingdom?”
One way we have of cultivating our attention to the hidden aspect of the kingdom is to sing about it or speak about it. What songs can we sing about the flower in the bud or the sun behind the cloud? What stories can we tell, alongside the stories of treasures in fields and yeast in the dough? How do we help people learn to recognize the Spirit at work in their lives? This may be something that goes beyond a worship experience. But seeds can be planted, and the intention established when we gather together each week.
What images can we provide those who gather? What pictures from the community will help us see? What artwork points us beyond ourselves to something deeper at work? How does the architecture of our buildings help us know God? What do we do in the space where we worship that draws our attention to the presence of God among us? Do we need more silence, listening for the voice of God? Do we need more voices singing God’s praises or sharing the serendipity of discovering grace in surprising places? Let the worship team think on many levels this week as we prepare to usher people into God’s presence this week.
Rev. Dr. Derek Weber, Director of Preaching Ministries, served churches in Indiana and Arkansas and the British Methodist Church. His PhD is from University of Edinburgh in preaching and media. He has taught preaching in seminary and conference settings for more than 20 years.