Walking through the large wooden and glass doors, you are greeted by a friendly church member who is wearing a name tag, and hands you a folded sheet of paper, explaining that it’s the Order for Worship. It looks like a program for a concert or theater performance.
You take your seat, and a person in a long robe begins speaking at the front, welcoming everyone and making a few announcements as worship begins. As she sits down, beautiful music begins playing, and a child in a white robe lights some candles at the front.
After the music stops, you begin with a “Call to Worship” where the worship leader reads one part, and everyone in the room reads the next. It’s really cool to hear everyone’s voices joined together, and reading along with them makes you feel connected to something greater than yourself.
Then they ask you to sing. In public. With other people. The person next to you sounds like they have a much better voice than you do. You sing quietly, hoping no one will hear you stumble through this “Hymn.” But then you hear some of the other voices around you, and some of them aren’t great singers, but they do sound joyful, so you figure it’s ok to sing along, even if you’re not great at it.
Worship continues with a few other readings, a few other songs. There’s a hand-shaking portion, and you meet a lovely old lady who says that she’s glad to see you, and that you’re in a spot where she often sits, and that she’s so glad to share it with a new face! This seems like a very welcoming group of people.
Some people get up and read from a Bible, but it doesn’t sound as stuffy as you’ve seen it read on TV. Not once does somebody say “whosoevereth.” After they sit down, there’s some music from a group of musicians at the front, and they sound wonderful. You wonder if they’d be willing to teach you to sing that well.
Then the person in the long robe from earlier stands back up and begins to speak. It’s a speech about the Bible passage they read earlier. The order of worship calls it a “Sermon.” It’s obvious that the person who wrote it spent a long time on it, it’s got some funny stories, but it’s more than just entertainment, there are parts that really challenge what you thought you knew about God, and about yourself.
Reading the Bible and talking about it in the Sermon seem to be the central part of the worship service. After the sermon there’s more singing and more opportunities to read along with everybody there. The service gives you plenty to think about, and leaves you feeling excited, like something really special happened while you were there. You decide to stay for the coffee and snacks they’re hosting after the service, and think that perhaps you’ll even come back next week. St. Andrews Presbyterian Church seems like a wonderful group of people whom you would like to get to know better.