Thursday, July 7, 2011

ITALY Part 1: Worship in Spirit and Truth

Vatican City
I learned many things in Rome, but nothing I gleaned compares to what Eddie realized: Roma Tomatoes come from Rome.  It was like his whole world opened up when he figured that one out.  But now I’m afraid to tell him they really don’t come from Rome.  They are grown in the United States, Mexico, Australia and Great Britain.  Well, at least it was fun to say, “We’re eating Rom-ah tomatoes in Rom-ah.”  (Eddie has this theory that if you put an “ah” or “mundo” or “mento” at the end of a word you are actually speaking Italian.)

More on this next Monday...
One of the most practical things I learned in Rome was never take a header off a 3 ½ foot pedestal and break your fall with your knee going in the opposite direction God intended.  By I’m getting ahead of myself.  That is for next Monday’s post…

My favorite memory of Rome was sitting next to a nun when we attended mass at The Vatican.  She was so moved during the whole service.  It touched me.  Nuns have always been my heroes.   All the people around us were reverently taking part: heads bowed, eyes closed, whispers echoing the liturgy. When the Eucharist was presented the nun dropped to her knees with audible sighs and groans for the Holy Spirit to interpret.

St. Peter's Basilica

Worship the Lord in spirit and truth.  Who am I to judge what that looks like on the outside.  I grew up with an opening song, prayer, 3 more songs (verses 1, 2 and 4), sermon, invitation song, communion, announcements, closing song, prayer.  Sounds mundane but I can guarantee you I learned a lot about worship as a young girl watching my mother during those services.  I choose a more spontaneous form now, but that doesn’t make it better; just different.

I regularly find myself in conversations about worship.  Being a musician I enjoy all forms of worship music.  And since God created music I’m sure He does, too.  My prayer is that we stop trying to judge other people’s worship by how it is demonstrated outwardly; in style or posture.  It’s just not our place.

View from our balcony at sunset
The four of us had our own church services while we were there.  The first Sunday was in Tuscany.  As we sat in our big Italian kitchen, windows opened to the small, narrow, cobblestone streets of Cortona below, we wondered if the people listening around us questioned our style of worship and how, outwardly, it was so different from their own.  I hoped they enjoyed our hymns.  We did.  We had amazing 4-part harmony going!

We spent our second Sunday in the Cinque Terre.  As we sat on our back porch, this time singing more “contemporary” worship songs, the housekeeper made a trek right through our communion time to get the vacuum from the closet off of our room.  We didn’t skip a beat but laughed through the next verse or two.  I hope she was blessed.
Westminster Abbey
We had a stopover in Lodon
coming and going

So whether you’re on your knees in a solemn silence at The Vatican mass or singing “Jesus Love is a Bubblin’ Over” laughing around a campfire, I hope your thirst will be quenched, your soul satisfied and that God is honored.

Enjoy the pictures of these houses of worship. 

Question:  What does “worship in spirit and truth” mean to you?


wendy said...

I grew up singing verses 1, 2, and 4 (and sometimes, on a good Sunday, verse 3 too). Sounds like my experience of church growing up was a lot like yours.

Dana said...

Did you have 5th Sunday Potluck and Singing with area congregations? I loved those. Still would.

Gaila said...

The cathedral in Florence was one of my favorites. I, also, grew up with the same worship style that you did. I must admit that while I don't have a problem with instruments being used in worship I enjoy accapella best as it speaks more to my heart. Scott and I enjoyed mass in Notre Dame twice (we enjoyed it so much the first time that we went again).

samuel Patterson said...

Thanks for the reminder ...the Spirit is so much more than us. It cuts through all the stuff we bring. There are no rules to true worship only your true heart. Thanks Dana ^^

Dana said...

Hey Gaila and Sam, My fellow non-instrumental compadres. XO