Thanksgiving. What a strange holiday we have here. For the last 150 years, Americans have been gathering around tables, indulging in foods that we only sort of like, and surviving sometimes awkward conversations with others that we may or may not agree with or even like.
The "First Thanksgiving" was celebrated amongst enemies. But in the act of coming together around a table, there was unity for three days. Sounds just like a typical Sunday worship service, right? Actually, yes.
Let's not be naive, now. Attending any given church on any given Sunday are people that don't see eye-to-eye. Opinions on the hot topics du jour fly all over the place, and yet, we still gather. For one hour on a Sunday morning, our attention is lifted beyond our differences, and called towards our Savior. I'm certainly not suggesting that we spend an hour blind and numb to our differences for the sake of unity. It's more that our attention is focused on the greater Thing that unites all believers.
As worship leaders, we host the meal, and God is the Event. We set the table, prepare the food, and welcome our guests. From there, we guide and watch.
We're the ones that call Uncle Buck, saying, "I know you haven't been over in a while, but we'd love to have you." It's us that call Aunt Sue, saying, "Yes, my liberal neighbor will be coming again. Please still come and join us." We invite cousin Larry, saying, "You've had a really tough year. We would love to feed you and care for you. Please come over."
As worship leaders, from our very first words of welcome to the congregation, we invite and guide and watch. "Not really feeling this whole God thing? Let's explore Him together." "Your church friends are calling you a political loon on Facebook? Let's hold their hands as we worship together."
In this great tradition of coming around the table each Thanksgiving, let's be emboldened as worship leaders to do the same in our churches.