Worship happens in ordinary space and time. While there is a place for the elaborate and extravagant, the story of Jesus’ birth and events that surrounded it remind us worship happens in unconventional places and through people who may not feel so polished in preparation. Actually, these are frequent elements to facilitate the extravagance of God’s love and grace.
The last few months, worship has occurred in the catacomb of my basement. I have poured orange juice in the cup and placed pop tarts on the plate, both purchased on my pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2019. I have worn stoles and sweat pants simultaneously, to include a stole made by a local friend and colleague in ministry. I have preached in worship as my kids build with Legos in the living room above me or flushed a toilet as background noise to prayers led. I have virtually participated in ecumenical and interfaith vigils and marches as my littlest curls up on the couch offscreen and plays with her dolls. Worship has happened here with great frequency, despite the separation from traditional liturgical locations.
While I am eager to get back to being in the physical presence of siblings of the faith, I have found a breath of fresh air in the deconstruction of worship that has taken place these last few months as we prioritize love of neighbor through social distancing. Along the way, we have been reminded that worship is not limited to what we manufacture. Worship hinges on our commitment to follow the One who is with us wherever we go. Worship is the lens through which we view the world and our movement through it...even virtually...or behind an inn as shepherds and magi from the East gather to pay homage to the great Liberator of all generations. Worship well this Advent. Worship where you are and as you are and for the sake of neighborly love as incarnations of this worship.