Comings and Goings is a blog written by Theology, Worship and Education Director Charles B. "Chip" Hardwick as he travels throughout the church. God is on the move out and about in the world, working to redeem all things in Jesus Christ. As we join this mission, by the power of the Spirit we see God on the move. This blog contains glimpses of how Chip finds this to be true in his comings and goings.
Sue Krummel, the general presbyter for the Presbytery of Great Rivers, emailed me on Sunday night that Tuesday’s presbytery meeting was going on, because the predictions of snow did not look that perilous. By the time the meeting rolled around, however, the snow was falling, and about half of the regular attendees were there.
I had been invited to preach and to teach on the Heidelberg Catechism, one of the Presbyterian Church’s confessions. A recent translation of the Catechism is up for a vote by the presbyteries for a potential revision to the Book of Confessions, so the presbytery was interested in some background about it.
Because of the snow, the presbytery leadership decided to shorten the meeting down to about two and a half hours. I still was able to present about Heidelberg, but what impressed me more was that they decided that it was still important to have the full worship service which they had planned.
We sang multiple hymns. We focused together on the scripture. Despite the flakes falling all around, they seemed to be engaged by my sermon. We confessed our sin and heard words of assurance. We prayed for the needs of the presbytery and the needs of the world. On an abbreviated meeting day when it would have been just as easy to skip the worship service in order to concentrate on the business at hand, the presbytery put first things first and praised, honored, listened to, and responded to our Lord Jesus Christ.
It was a great reminder to me. Now that I don’t serve a local church, I find Sundays more like most people in the culture: a good day to get things done, to relax, to leave the alarm clock off.
Starting the week with worship, though, is a great way to put first things first. Even when it’s snowing. Even when we lose an hour. Even when the kids are fighting and we were out too late and it’s a guest preacher. Even when it seems like there’s much more business to be done during what seems like an abbreviated weekend.
Putting first things first means making worship a priority. I’m grateful that my visit to the Presbytery of Great Rivers gave me this clear reminder last week.