We are a Community that Blesses!
For the people of St. Peter’s, the Christian experience is deeply rooted in two words–‘thank you!’
Gratitude is such an essential virtue of our faith experience that we express it every Sunday of the year by celebrating the Holy Eucharist (translation: Special Thanksgiving).
This is our principal worship event, not only because Jesus himself said, “Do this in remembrance of me”, but also because we believe our relationship with God can be summed up with the idea that God has gifted and blessed us in innumerable ways, and therefore our first and best response is always, ‘thank you!’
We also believe we have a relationship with our neighbors–known and unknown–and that by living out of our gratitude for God’s blessings, we will discover blessings and gifts to share with our neighbors.
In worship, we always give thanks, and we always share the blessings of Christ’s presence in the Sacrament of bread and wine.
So what is spirituality?
First of all, spirituality is not a possession, but a posture.
When you think about people who seem especially spiritual, it is not because they have some ‘special bag of tricks’ in their possession; but rather that they seem to have a posture–a disposition–of being centered. Spiritual people are people who are not easily ‘tipped over.’
Second, worship is the foundation of spirituality.
At St. Peter’s, the principal expression of our spirituality is worship—and all worship revolves around a healthy relationship with God and our neighbor. It is as simple, and as challenging as that!
We can become easily distracted by ‘shopping for the perfect worship experience,’ as if it were a possession one could acquire. Of course, subscribing to this view allows us to blame someone else when we are not becoming as spiritual as we would like.
Third, worship is about God, first; and only then does it matter what we think or feel.
We should be reminded (and humbled) by the most spiritual people of the last several thousand years that the primary goal of worship is the praise and adoration of God, whether we ‘get anything out of it or not!’
What is worship like at St. Peter’s?
First of all, we are a community that blesses!
We seek to follow the example of Jesus and meet–and bless–people where they are. This is why we regularly offer blessings for those who are celebrating birthdays or wedding anniversaries during the course of the upcoming week. We also bless our children–along with their backpacks–when they get ready to head back to school. We bless our pets in October in recognition of St. Francis’ Day and the importance of remembering our responsibilities of stewardship for their welfare. We bless gifts that are collected for families who cannot afford to purchase gifts at Christmas time.
And every single Sunday, we pray God’s blessing upon all of the offerings and gifts from the congregation. We also pray God’s blessing over the bread and wine, just like Jesus did at his last supper with his closest friends and followers.
Then we give back those gifts–the Sacrament that Christ ordained, so that we all might be blessed, nourished and better able to love and serve our Lord.