Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Struggling to Worship

I have been struggling for the past couple months with the issue of worship; specifically with the issue of Sunday morning worship. I have reached a point where I don't look forward to our Sunday morning gathering most of the time and I attend primarily out of a sense of obligation or duty. I know I should go, so I do. But my heart is most often not focused and my spirit not attuned to what God might want to say through the music or the message. I recognize that this is not a good situation to be in, but I'm struggling with how to change myself and/or my situation.

Our current worship community consists of six families. All of the families have children, ranging in age from just a few months to my teenage daughter. My son and daughter are the oldest two children in the group. There are no other children in their age range, the closest one being our friend's 8-year-old daughter. So my children don't enjoy coming to worship because they really have no one to relate to. They are too old for a lesson oriented to the rest of the children, but they are not yet willing (and maybe not fully ready) to participate in an adult-oriented lesson. So in addition to my own struggle with not wanting to attend, I struggle with having two children who don't want to attend. I make them go, but I feel rather hypocritical in doing so, since I most often don't want to go myself.

In the past we have followed a format where we gathered for a time of prayer and singing, after which someone would go with the children into a different room for a lesson while the remaining adults would stay together for an adult-oriented lesson. Since the beginning of the year we have adopted a format where the children and adults stay together for the majority of the time, with the lesson being taught to include both children and adults. Lately we've modified this a bit to have a lesson for both, followed by some time when the adults can consider the lesson separately and more in-depth. This has helped, but still much of our worship time is filled with the distraction of young children who are too energetic to sit still and too young to really focus on a lesson. I find this really distracts my attention from listening as well. I feel like I should welcome the presence of the children as a gift from God, but in reality I just see them as a disruption.

I recognize that much of the issue lies within me. I have the choice of how I will respond to the situation. I have the ability to try to listen to God amidst these distractions. Perhaps I am simply not wanting to hear from God. At the same time, I would like to find a worship environment in which I and my children could engage with eagerness and desire. I would like to find a group where my children are at home because they have other children their age. Unfortunately there is no such group available to us here. This problem exists not only in our worship community but in our social life as a whole.

I know that ultimately we do not gather for worship for the sake of what we can gain from it. I realize that worship is finally and most importantly about God and not about me. But I also see that the situation in which we come to worship can and does impact our ability to turn our hearts to God in worship. I'm really struggling with this right now. I don't know what the solution will be.