"How long, O Lord?" Psalm 13:1
"Momma, how long till we get there?!" Many parents are hearing this understandable question waiting in line for pilgrimage church. It's the same question children asked their parents 2,000 years ago traveling toward the temple in Jerusalem. In fact, did you know there are 15 Psalms dedicated to this long up-hill walk? Psalms 120 - 134 are the Children of God's Top 15 All-Time-Greatest-Hits for singing on the way to worship! They are called the Songs of Ascent. That's because people needed something to DO as they slowly made their way. It's also because we all need help remembering what worship is for.
As your pastor I realize that waiting in line for church is not normal, and I want to give some practical help to aid your pilgrimage this Sunday. Imagine making Sunday's drive to church like a ROAD TRIP where you play games, sing songs, and tell stories. My mother used to have a ''grab-bag'' full of various invisible goodies. Anybody who could answer a question about the geography or history of the places we visited got to close their eyes, count to 3, and quickly pull their surprise out of the bag. My brothers and I still play this game! What road trip traditions or games did you play?
In addition to the "Grab - Bag", here are 5 ideas for Pilgrimage Church:
#1. Bring Food. Have each person in your family pick one thing out of your cupboards to bring for Serve Wenatchee. There's something more personal and costly about giving something we've already purchased for ourselves.
#2. Sing Together. Pick your family's favorite album and rock out together. The people traveling to Jerusalem didn't just hum a few tunes, they sang and shouted and rejoiced (and mourned) loudly! Of course, do be considerate of our neighbors along Peachy Street.
#3. Make a Playlist. What are your family's favorite songs to sing out loud? Could somebody in your familymake a Pilgrimage Church Playlist? Give someone the mid-week task of making a modern playlist that mirrors the various kinds of Psalms. Let there be . . . songs of rejoicing, songs of lament, ballads, love songs, tragic songs, road trip songs. This is basically what the Book of Psalms is!
#4. Tell Stories. Take time to talk about favorite trips, best memories, or family stories maybe your kids haven't heard. Do your children know the story of how you met, how you proposed, what you love about your spouse, what's been hard?
#5. Play/PRAY the Alphabet Game. True, there are not many signs on Peachy street, so play the SUBJECT game. "A" for apartment. "B" for boy. "C" for Colonial Vista. And could this game lead your car to PRAY for who and what you are seeing? "Lord, we pray for the elderly in Colonial Vista (like Bernice Atkinson), and for those who serve them, (like Jessica Hall), and for doctors (like Jason Shattuck or Geoff Harms) etc . . .
Give yourself and those with you the gift of remembering:
Worship is not first a turning inwards,
but a turning outwards toward God, our neighbors,
and ourselves in Christ.
This Sunday let's pray we see Pilgrimage Church afresh.
What is God teaching us about pilgrimage, waiting, and worship?
Learning right beside you,