When I was a kid, going to church on Sundays was the highlight of my week. I know, you're all thinking, "Only a pastor would say that." But Sundays were really special for me as I was growing up. Sunday school was fun, but honestly I don't remember too much from Sunday school except one Sunday when we sang, "I will make you fishers of men," and things got a little out of control.
What I remember most about Sundays was worship (I know, only a pastor... and not because I loved listening to sermons from an early age or anything.) Worship was this sacred time of being together with my family and the entire family of God. I loved participating in worship with my family kneeling next to my mom at communion, following along in my dad's bulletin, my sister and I fighting over who got to hold the hymnal. My sisters and I would sit in the pew drawing and giggling, and when we got too noisy our parents would give us "the look" the same "look" I now give our son when I am able to worship with my family.
My grandma and grandpa always sat in the pew behind us, and my grandpa would sing each hymn in his loud (if you can't sing nice, sing loud) bass voice, and I'd join my voice with his in those hymns once I learned to read. What I'd give to be able to sing with him again.
Rev. Emily Nesdahl
I remember passing the peace with a lady who sat a few pews away and always made it a point to come and shake my hand and greet me and my sisters. I nearly cried when she came to my ordination nearly 20 years later.
I also remember those mornings during that rebellious phase hidden under the covers, hoping against all odds that my parents would let us sleep in, just this one Sunday. And being secretly glad that they took on the fight to make me get up and go.
I don't remember much from Sunday school, and I certainly can't recite from memory the Small Catechism that I learned in confirmation, but it is worship and the relationships with the entire family of God that has sustained me in faith throughout my life. Worship gathering with the entire family of God to retell the story of God's love for us is the cornerstone of my faith life.
Reflections, a mini-sermon written by Minot and area clergy, will appear each Saturday in The Minot Daily News. Clergy interested in writing a mini-sermon should contact Religion Editor Loretta Johnson at 857-1952 or Debbie Sandvold at 857-1950. The toll-free number is 1-800-735-3229.
Those interactions that I described above communing with my mom, following along with my dad, singing with my grandpa, being sought out by others those things could only happen in worship. They didn't ever happen in daily life.
Worship is a sacred time for the family of God, and I believe that worship is incredibly important and formative for young people in every congregation.
Sunday school and confirmation are important. Knowledge is important. Learning the stories of faith is important. But we learn those things, so that we can know more about this God that we worship.
As we get ready to gear up for Sunday school and confirmation to begin (and again, Sunday school and confirmation are super important), I invite you to commit to worshipping together as a whole family of God.
The Rev. Emily Nesdahl is pastor of Peace Lutheran Church in Burlington.