Habits of the heart….

I’ve heard it said that “if you can do it once, you can do it twice. If you can do it twice, you can make it a habit.” Well, tomorrow will be my “twice”. This is the second time in a month I’ve been assigned to duty in the Chapel worship service. This time, though, I’m not assisting, I’m conducting the order of worship. I’ll do everything except the sermon itself. And since it’s the first Sunday of the month, my friend Leslie and I will also be doing a duet for the special music.

It’s a new thing for me to be contemplating invocations, pastoral prayers, and benedictions for the worship service. Tomorrow I’ll even be leading the communion sacrament. I’ll meet with the pastor for consecration of the elements before the service, then the guest speaker and I will offer the elements to the congregants when we come to communion time in the service.

When I completed my “Inventory of Religious Activities and Interests” in January, preparing for candidacy for ordination as a deacon, I was surprised by some of the findings. I scored “very high” in counselor, scholar, spiritual guide, and priest (in that order). My lowest scores were in preacher and musician. I had moderate scores in administrator, teacher, evangelist and reformer.

The priest designation confused me a little until I read the description- “conducting public worship, sacraments, and liturgy.” When it dawned on me that conducting public worship didn’t necessarily mean preaching a sermon, I was comfortable with the “priest” designation. Tomorrow I will be acting more in the role of “priest”, not preacher (thankfully!). But it occurs to me that most Thursday evenings at Celebrate Recovery, though considerably less formal and structured, I’ve been doing essentially a priestly function for over three years!

I’ve begun a digital file of the prayers I’ve prepared for each service. Just another little part of my obsessive compulsive documenting of things that I do. I expect, over time, I’ll be able to observe patterns in my style, overuse of certain words or phrases, and will hopefully be able to be more spontaneous, comfortable, and competent for the task! Right now, though, I don’t feel particularly well equipped in any of those three.