Building Bridges

We stand in this sanctuary, side-by-side, and say these ancient words. Words spoken by generations of pilgrims before us.

And I feel the heaviness. The heaviness of all this time in them.

I breathe in their holiness and know their power.

The small frame beside me does the same. In his stature I see a new awareness. He forms these words with his mouth, rediscovering something lost.

A treasure found.

We have been long absent from these pews. Have strayed from this Traditional Worship service. We have been following God’s leading to a new church…a Contemporary Worship service.

Our desire to reach the unchurched through diversifying worship caused a quite a stir in this muted place.

But we return today. For a morning we are home.

I contemplate these things as I let this quiet joy awaken inside.

I remember this serene worship—this tender appeal to God.

I sing these weighty hymns…with melody oh, so hard to grasp. My voice is high where it should be low, wavering in this complicated thing.

But the words.

How they tug at my heart. And I imagine the pen that scripted them…over a hundred years ago.

Little one, at my side, is trying so hard.

He misses this sacred place.

But still, he slumps beside me. Leans heavy as the words we utter in unison.

There is no opportunity to let the joy spill out. No opportunity to send his energy out into this room. No lifting arms…no swaying with the rhythm.

Is there not some wiggle room?

Can we not, as God’s people, see the value in diversity?

I see my attempts to marry these things in my son’s innocent efforts.

This diversity gives him an appreciation for both styles of worship.

Before we became active in Contemporary worship, the Traditional service left him bored and irritable.

Now, he grasps for each word. Tries.

Yet, Contemporary music lets his spirit free. Free to praise, free to worship. No constraints.

Do I not want him to have choices in life?

Then why not so in worship?

Does not God appreciate the beauty of diversity in His people?

Why not so in worship?

I want my children to be comfortable giving their worship to God, no matter the setting.

And so, I will continue to attempt to bridge these parallels. For they are not opposites. They run side-by-side; taking us to the same place.

Worshiping at His feet.

It’s all for Him.


  1. says

    Our church both houses a contemporary and traditional worship. We attend both or a rotating basis (as a pastor’s family…we need to). But I will tell you this…

    I like them both. I can find God in both. But my preference will probably always land on the side of traditional worship. I have complete freedom in my worshipping traditionally. I love the hymns, and I love giving my children the foundations of traditional worship. It means so much more to me now that I am older. Funny, my nineteen year old prefers the traditional also. He’s heavily entrenched within campus ministries at his university, but loves to come home and worship within the “parameters” of his roots that run long and deep and way back to the traditions of his spiritual ancestors.

    Either way, God’s the gain in both.

    Thanks for writing about the pull you feel in your heart.


  2. says

    ooooooooh Laura, I feel and KNOW your struggle. I pray for the church as it struggles to find the right path. So many issues. I am praying for you.

  3. says

    I, too, know your struggle, friend. Although our struggle right now is a different one with our church, it is still so hard to feel that pull and discomfort, where you used to feel completely at home.
    I will pray for you; I don’t know the answer, but we have to trust that God knows our hearts, amen? And He will lead us in the direction that He wants us to go.

    God Bless,

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