W is for Worship: An Alphabet of Christian Worship
Psalm 145 (interspersed)
By Rev. Aaron Willett
I will lift you up high, my God, the true king.
I will bless your name forever and always.
I will bless you every day.
I will praise your name forever and always.
The Lord is great and so worthy of praise!
God’s greatness can’t be grasped.
“A” is for announcements, I suppose you could say,
but our worship is described in a more powerful way
if instead we declare “A” is for Acolytes
who bring down our aisle a flame as God’s light,
to be shared with all people, in word and in song.
Let us raise all our voices, for all here belong.
And with that, let us stand and sing our way into worship.
“B” is for “Be Still,” and “Bless the Lord” it is true,
but also for baptism and bread--here’s a clue--
our sacraments point beyond just your pew;
these are signs of God’s promise for me and for you.
One generation will praise your works to the next one,
proclaiming your mighty acts.
“C” is for children, who gather with us.
We welcome them all, even when they fuss.
We welcome them into God-blessed community,
for our worship here is equal-opportunity.
“D” is for divine, the presence of God,
mysterious, wonderful, awesome, and odd.
We catch little glimpses, like hints of a thing,
like the wave of a banner, or a bell when it rings.
They will talk all about the glorious splendor of your majesty;
I will contemplate your wondrous works.
6 They will speak of the power of your awesome deeds;
I will declare your great accomplishments.
7 They will rave in celebration of your abundant goodness;
they will shout joyfully about your righteousness:
“E” is for everyone, encountering God,
with our eyes and our ears ready to be awed.
“Do not be afraid,” the angles would say,
were we to encounter God in that way.
But here we trust God will elevate
our hearts and our souls, if only we wait.
“F” is for Family, but not based on kin.
See, the family of God has been forgiven.
For our Father in Heaven forgives all our failings
and all of our many spiritual ailings.
Prayer of Confession
Assurance of Pardon: Psalm 145:8-10:
“The Lord is merciful and compassionate,
very patient, and full of faithful love.
The Lord is good to everyone and everything;
God’s compassion extends, to all his handiwork!”
All that you have made gives thanks to you, Lord;
all your faithful ones bless you!
Which brings us to “G” for God’s good gracious grace,
Free to you and to all the whole human race.
Generation to generation, our gratitude does increase,
as we share with each other our Lord, the Christ’s peace.
Sisters and brothers, may the peace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, be with you!
… And now let us pass that peace with each other.
“H” is for hymns, like the one we just sung,
which lift up the hearts of the old and the young.
The Holy Spirit connects and lifts up our hearts,
with our hands and our voices engaged in the arts.
“I” is for intelligent, inquisitive minds
we bring to our worship, for we hope to find
God’s presence in things we don’t understand.
Sometimes in our searching, our thoughts God expands.
“J” is clearly for Jesus of course.
For Jesus revealed God’s love not by force,
but rather by truth, compassion, and justice;
God said through Jesus, “It’s OK to trust us.”
They speak of the glory of your kingdom;
they talk all about your power,
to inform all human beings about God’s power
and the majestic glory of God’s kingdom.
Your kingdom is a kingship that lasts forever;
your rule endures for all generations.
“K” is for king, and yes, God is ours.
We worship God only, not human powers.
God’s kingdom is here, among us, and when
We become like these kids, well then we’ll get in.
“L” is for love, that most powerful force;
it set creation in motion and us on our course.
One response to God’s love could surely be
the “work of the people,” what we call liturgy.
Psalm 145: 13b-14
The Lord is trustworthy in all that he says,
faithful in all that he does.
14 The Lord supports all who fall down,
straightens up all who are bent low.
“M” is for mother, mama, and mom.
For God’s like that too, it says in our Psalm.
By our side in our trouble, God shows us great care.
We can call God our mom too--if we dare!
“N” is for nature, where some God encounter,
But without community, long-term it's a downer.
No, I declare, I’m not being too flip.
I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s natural to worship.
“O” is for offering and offertory.
We open our hearts and give God the glory.
We give from what God has given us first,
The offering is God’s giving reversed.
And now would our ushers please come forward to receive the offering.
“P” is for peace and the passing thereof,
as we already practiced, earlier, above.
“P” is also for lifting our hearts up in praise,
and for prayers of all kinds that to Jesus we raise.
“Q” is for quiet, a good way to pray.
You see it’s not always necessary to say
all the things on our hearts, because God already knows
our joys and concerns, our highs and our lows.
All eyes look to you, hoping,
and you give them their food right on time,
opening your hand
and satisfying the desire of every living thing.
Prayers of the People
“R” is for ready, as ready as we can be
to meet here with God in this sanctuary.
God is righteous, more than we comprehend,
so we depend on God to refine us even to the end.
“S” is for Sunday, the day that we gather,
and the Sabbath rest we celebrate together.
We saints gather here for Scripture and songs
sung ‘round God’s throne, where we all belong.
“T” is for tradition, passed down and down,
from Jesus to Peter to Clement of Rome.
A tradition of thanks, a tradition that’s true,
passed from your grandparents, to your parents, to you.
The Lord is righteous in all his ways,
faithful in all his deeds.
The Lord is close to everyone who calls out to him,
to all who call out to him sincerely.
“U” is for universal, for God loves all people,
Not just those who have a big steeple.
God created everyone and the whole world too,
Jesus came for us all, not just a few.
“V” is for voices, let’s lift them up high!
The church needs your voice to magnify
the glory of the Lord, saving, profound.
“I once was lost but now am found.”
God shows favor to those who honor him,
listening to their cries for help and saving them.
20 The Lord protects all who love him,
but he destroys every wicked person.
“W” is for wicked, for we all have our flaws,
and Jesus made clear mine are no worse than yours.
But it’s also for wonder at our God-given Scripture
The Word shows of our God a most gracious picture.
“X” is for the cross, if we turn it a little,
that tree where Jesus paid for our acquittal.
Because of the cross, we are all welcome here,
all people on earth God wants to draw near.
Celebrating with Children #2 (Addressing the children)
“Y” is for you, and your role in our worship:
your energy, ideas, your entrepreneurship.
We all have great hopes for what you will add;
God includes us all, and for that we are glad.
“Z” is the omega; God, our beginning and end.
Our service is over, but I would contend
that our worship goes on, out into the world,
in your life and mine, God’s love unfurled.
My mouth will proclaim the Lord’s praise,
and every living thing will bless God’s holy name
forever and always.