This morning we included in our gathering a liturgy based upon the theme of restlessness. This piece included spoken words, points for reflection, music and prayer. I was pleased to collaborate with Dianne Polome at Unfinished Work on the text and prayer and Merritt Blake on the musical side of things.
A Restless Liturgy
This year our community of faith has committed to engage the season of Advent as a time of reflection and preparation. We prepare for Christ’s advent into our world and into our lives and we reflect upon our own readiness for this glorious mystery to unfold.
Restless. Unsettled. Disquieted. Discontent. Expectation. Uneasy. Weightiness. Waiting. Anticipating. Restless.
For a few moments this morning we are going to dwell upon the word, “restless.”
How do we respond to our own restlessness? Do we tend to run and hide? Or can we believe that God is constantly drawing us to him, even in our restlessness?
Instead of ignoring our restless or trying to run and hide from it, perhaps God is speaking to us in the midst of it. Maybe our restlessness points to our deep longing for Christ’s coming and the recognition that things are not as God intended them to be?
In the waning, unsettled days of the Roman Empire, a young man named Augustine was on his own restless journey of spiritual discovery. Turning first to one then another philosophy of the day, he failed to find the answers his soul was seeking. Finally, “in the humble yet profound Christian scriptures, the elegant, convicting preaching of St. Ambrose, and the stubborn, matured devotion of his mother, he finally discovered a faith he could embrace without reservation.” (Paul Thigpen, http://www.paulthigpen.com/saints-history/augustine.html) Years later, he recounted his experience with these words: “You have made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you.”
- Do you have a sense of restlessness in your spirit?
- Do you long for a sense of deeper peace?
- Are you searching and seeking for something more?
Restless moments, days and seasons should be embraced for they are often the catalysts that lead us to a deeper experience with Christ.
During these next two songs we invite you to consider and perhaps even name your own restlessness, and prayerfully bring it into the presence of God and invite God to speak into the midst of it.
As we do, would you join me in declaring these words:
You have made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you.
Gather us, O Lord, to your steadfast heart.
Where we are disquieted,
May we find sweet stillness in you.
Where we are unsettled,
Be our peace.
Where we are weighed down,
Bear our burdens, as only you can.
Where we are discontent,
Satisfy us with your goodness.
Where we are restless,
May we find our rest in you.
Here is our complete worship flow:
- Here for You (Matt Redman)
- Forever Reign (Hillsong)
- An Advent Litany (adpated from the Worship Sourcebook)
- O Come O Come Emmanuel (Sojourn Church version)
- Advent Conspiracy Video
- Restless Liturgy
- Reading from Isaiah 40:1-11
You can learn what other communities of faith experienced this weekend in worship at The Worship Community.