Regard your good name as the richest jewel you can possibly be possessed of…

              Socrates

Nametags. Who ever would have thought that nametags could and would create such a stir that yours truly is still baffled? How does nametags equal authority, anyway? This is the question I’ve been pondering since Sunday night. You see the house band at the worship gathering I’m a part of, gathers together before worship to share in prayer…and if I’m honest, a time for a break before leading. It was at this such gathering, that it was asked/announced that during the next 6 weeks of LENT we would ALL wear nametags, as we were asking others to do the same as part of a ritual to learn the people around you, so that you can pray for them by name.

As they all gathered to pray, share, eat and fellowship with one another, the nametag conspiracy was dropped among them. The thing is, the actions we all engaged before leading worship were the same ones that the early church acted upon. In the account of Acts, we read: “The community continually committed themselves to learning what the apostles taught them, gathering for fellowship, breaking bread, and praying. Everyone felt a sense of awe because the apostles were doing many signs and wonders among them. There was an intense sense of togetherness among all who believed…they were unified as they worshiped.” (Acts 2:42-45 from THE VOICE translation)

 

Each week we gather as a community, and yet lately, our community has been broken by sarcasm and what seems to be a lack of glad and generous hearts. We have new people among us sharing gifts and talents, allowing us to enjoy each other’s company a bit more. And yet, a simple request that WE, as leaders in a community of faith, take on a symbol of hospitality was met with eye rolls, authority questions and jokes. I wonder what sense of community we are displaying to those gathered around Christ’s table at worship when we have that spirit among us.

 

The young, vibrant church described in the Book of Acts had little political influence. They shared what they had with each other and were grateful to share joy among themselves and with others they encountered. The people in this early gathering valued one another more than any possession or decree. They came together to SHARE LIFE. So I paused and reflected that I know that we know each other’s names. That we’ve raged at each other from time to time. That we joke about and with one another. That we find time to eat together and we pray together weekly. But I also wonder how we share that with those outside of our circle in the “Green Room” in worship, when our focus is about “us” and not about “them.” At the end of the day, we are “them.”

 

My hope during this season of Lent, is that myself and this crazy group of worship crafters and leaders will take the opportunity to be as ONE in the Worship Gathering. Not THE BAND, THE MINISTER, THE WORSHIPPERS, THE TEAM GREET. But one. And when those who journey through worship with us as visitors see us engaging, my hope is that they see the ONE we know as Christ in our midst through love, hope and joy.

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