Call to Worship: Living Word

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By Maurice Cowley, Art by Scott Erickson 

This Call to worship was originally given on 3/11/18 at Imago Dei Central City Campus. 

Just over a week ago a student of mine died, the last in a string of emotionally heavy events to hit our school. A rough-around-the-edges, tender heart of a young man was tragically killed before he finished high school. He is not my first student to die, and I don’t think he will be my last. But news of his passing - received five minutes before students walked into my room to start their Friday - left my already weary heart overcome with grief, a grief that settled like low-hanging clouds, an oppressive weight draining light from the world around. Sunday, sitting in these very pews, the grey pallor of sorrow remained. I couldn’t move forward, I wanted to wallow in grief.

I sat through worship doodling my lament unto the Lord until God spoke the words of Psalm 121 to my heart, “I lift my eyes up to the mountains - Where does my help come from?” The question posed to me by God via the Psalmist has but one answer, “My help comes from the Lord maker of heaven and earth.” God, knowing that I can be a bit obstinate, spoke again minutes later as Hannah pointed us to the story of Peter fixing his eyes on Jesus in order to rise above the choppy seas of circumstance. “OK, I get it,” I thought as I raised my hands and echoed Peter’s cry, “Lord, save me!”

I am still sad about the loss of this beautiful life, but God’s Word spoken into my circumstance brought a shift within me. It told of God’s nearness to me as I move through my pain. The Word is the sunbreak promising an end to sorrow, infusing my grief with moments of comfort.

This recent instance of scripture speaking relevantly to my experience is not an isolated occurrence. Throughout my life, God’s Word - from Pentateuch to prophet, from Gospel to epistle - has continually spoken comfort and correction, wisdom and guidance, encouragement and instruction into the situations I’ve faced. The Word of God, spoken thousands of years ago by the Eternal One, is living and active, the breath of life to my gasping lungs.

 Let us worship the God who speaks the word which reverberates throughout eternity. 

Each Sunday, the Call to Worship is designed to lead us into uniting our actions, intentions, and emotions in loving response to God. For more information about creative liturgy and how to get involved, email