July 11, 2019


“God’s voice is glorious in the thunder. We can’t even imagine the greatness of God’s power.”  ~ Job 37:5 

Dear Friends:

Having not grown up in Ohio, I still can’t quite get used to summers with a constant threat of rain. Ordinarily, a forecast of scattered showers and thunderstorms wouldn’t be enough to draw my attention. Add to the mix that we worship outside under the magnificent oaks on the church lawn, however, and I seem to be glued to my phone’s weather app.

Worshiping outside is a tradition that so many of us love.

With this year’s especially rainy start, I am always glad when we can gather together in nature’s beauty. This past Sunday as I began to preach, a distant rumble of thunder added a bit of urgency and unexpected excitement to our service. If you’re like me, it is so easy to fall into a rhythm and become complacent. Everything happens according to plan—”decently and in order” as Presbyterians like to say—and we can forget that when we gather for worship, whether inside or under the oaks, we are entering into God’s awesome, almighty, holy presence. And the Bible is full of stories that remind us that God wields power in all kinds of surprising ways.

Sometimes it takes a clap of thunder to surprise us and wake us up to God’s presence in our midst…

That peal of thunder reminded me that when we come into God’s presence in worship, our eyes, ears, and hearts must be awake and open to God’s powerful grace and graceful power at work among us. When Moses went up Mt. Sinai to be with God, he came back so radiant he had to put a veil over his face. Similarly, when we come to worship, we should expect that our time spent in God’s presence should leave us noticeably changed.

Perhaps it’s something to ponder this week. What do you expect to happen when you come to worship? How are you expecting to see God at work as you pray and praise and pay attention to his word?

And how are you expecting that you will be different as a result?

Grace and peace,