Each week at Christ Presbyterian Church we come together and express the unique character of community that God has called us to be. One of my favorite things about being Presbyterian is that while we have many things in common with other Presbyterians we are free to be who we are. In worship we incorporate many aspects of what people would call “traditional” Presbyterian worship, and we ensure that we adhere to the prescriptions of the Directory for Worship. Like most of our sister churches, we confess and receive pardon. We also read Scripture and hear the Word proclaimed in the sermon each week. Along with many other aspects of worship, we could be judged as being like any other Presbyterian Church.
On the other hand we are also a community that is very comfortable with making this “standard” expression of worship as unique to our community as possible. While many churches will “pass the peace,” most would not do it like we do. Other churches incorporate a time of shared prayers and may even invite the congregation to lift up prayers. Yet, there are few that share with the depth and sincerity that Christ Presbyterian Church does. This is not a judgment on those who do things differently, but is instead an affirmation of the unique character of Christ Presbyterian Church.
This unique character extends beyond our worship service. We also organize ourselves in a different way that is tailored to our people’s gifts and abilities. We have sought to streamline our ways of getting things done so as to allow even the busiest person to participate.
Of course the most unique aspect of Christ Presbyterian Church is her people. The members and friends of Christ Presbyterian are a wonderful menagerie of characters. I can say this because I am a unique character too. One commitment I made when I received a call to be the Pastor of this wonderful church was that I was not going to be anything but myself. I will admit that in prior calls I tried to be what the Session, congregation and community wanted me to be. As you can imagine this isn’t a good dynamic for pastoral relationships nor spiritual growth.
I have said to a few folks that I am glad that I don’t have to be cool anymore. This is my mantra when working with the youth. I don’t have to try and be something or someone that I am not. Children and youth are especially perceptive when people aren’t being genuine. So I have grown into the fact that I am never going to be cool. Children and youth don’t need me or you to be something we aren’t. They need us to be the person God has created and called us to be.
This past week we were visited in worship by my two high school best friends. These were guys I hung out with almost everyday in high school. Of course the fact that our last names all started with “M” put us in the same homeroom beginning with junior high school. Unfortunately, I hadn’t seen either of them in at least 10 years. They both had positive things to say about the hospitality they received, even before everyone knew they were my friends. They shared one interesting observation with me about worship. They both were glad to see that in worship, I was just me and didn’t put on a false persona. As Popeye would say, “I am what I am.”
- How do people perceive you? Are you the same person regardless of where you are?
- Do you wear a mask at work to hide the real you?
- Do you work to keep up appearances or are you the genuine, beloved person God created you to be in every arena of your life?