By Emma Grinde
Worship is a central part of our life together at The Lutheran Center. Our mission statement names that in worship we hear and learn God’s Word together in old, new, creative, and beautiful ways. Sunday and Wednesday worship at The LC have long been marked by a mix of both tradition and experimentation. The constraints of the pandemic over the last year have pushed our community into a new realm of creative worship, as services moved from in-person to Zoom last March when classes moved online.
Even though the pandemic has changed our worship modalities, the central things of worship remain. Whether gathered online or in person, we come together to confess our sins and receive forgiveness, praise God, hear the stories of God’s faithfulness in scripture, and pray for those in need. These central things have remained our focus, but with almost all our worship services online last fall, questions were always with us about when The LC building would be done and when we would next be able to gather in person for worship again.
A student once told me about the “Holy, Holy, Holy” sung before communion in the Behold I Make All Things New liturgy. She shared about how the worshiping community at The LC sings the first three lines in unison and then the final times through the song, each person picks one of those three lines to sing. With joy, the student recollected how the sanctuary would fill with a holy cacophony: all three lines being sung at once in a harmonious chaos. When she told me this, I wondered if I would get to join in singing the Holy, Holy, Holy in the new sanctuary at The LC. I wondered if we would gather for in-person worship again before my pastoral internship was over.
In the last month of decreasing COVID-19 cases on campus, as well as with new research from multiple sources about the minimal increased risk of singing at a non-loud volume while masked and distanced, last Sunday we gathered in person for worship at The LC! As much as we all wanted to sing as loud as we could, we held ourselves back and sang at a normal volume. Even so, the acoustically designed sanctuary was filled with the harmonious chaos of the “Holy, Holy, Holy,” each of us choosing whichever line of the song we wanted but also joining together to lift our praises to God.
In this season of time while we wait for vaccines to be distributed and continue the work of loving our neighbor by physical distancing and mask wearing: this season of almost but not yet — we hold fast to the promises of God’s love and presence among us and together we join in the holy cacophony:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
Heaven and earth are full of your glory, Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.