[Update: Our next P.S. will be Sunday, January 11 at 6:00 P.M. instead of January 4. The theme of the evening will be the Epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ.]

Last night we kicked off a new worship event at our church called P.S., which stands for Prayer and Song. The idea came to me while dwelling on my desire to take our people deeper in intimate communion with our Triune God. The way I see it, Sunday mornings are meant for the entire church body to gather together with the purpose of celebrating God, who He is and what He does, in Word and Sacrament (Bible teaching and Communion). Music on Sunday mornings, then, is used primarily as an aid in leading people to receive and respond to these elements.

I am not satisfied, however, with that being the end of it, nor do I want our church to think that that's all there is to worship, much less church life. My desire is for this church to be a worshiping community, meaning we are able to really go after God any time, any place. We must break our people out of the checklist mentality: go to church Sunday morning, download some information, fellowship for an hour and a half, and check it off the list for the week. One of the best ways I could think of to begin transforming this church into a worshiping community is P.S. (Prayer and Song).

Think of it like the P.S. (post script) at the end of a letter. The main part of the letter consists of a greeting, a body, and a salutation. We all know, though, that oftentimes the post script conveys more emotion, excitement, and passion than anything informationally conveyed in the body of the letter. Isn't it often the case that the post script of a letter is the part that makes you smile the most?

Now think of Sunday morning Celebration as the body of a letter. We meet God in His Word and at His Table, but it doesn't end there. The post script (P.S.) invites us to experience God in a deeper way, seeking His face in His presence, putting flesh on what we heard an partook of that morning. Due to the nature of Sunday mornings, at least in our church, we can't go as deep in our worship of God as we want and need to. We need a post script. We need an opportunity to simply dwell in the presence of the Lord; to go after him with everything inside of us, passionately, whole-heartedly. That's what P.S. is. And again, the ultimate goal is for our people to develop a lifestyle of worshiping God with this kind of passion at all times.

To further this metaphor, look at the Psalms. In a sense, the Psalter is the post script of the Bible. In the main part of the letter (everything but Psalms) we read history, laws, poetry, prophecies, stories, doctrines, and other information about God, inspired by Him, of course, and absolutely powerful and essential for faith in Christ. But none of it really materializes in us until it is absorbed, fleshed out, lived, and sung through the Psalms. Dietrich Bonhoeffer says, "It makes good sense, then, that the Psalter is often bound together in a single volume with the New Testament. It is the prayer of the Christian church." It's as if everything before it contains all that we need to know about God, and the Psalter itself teaches us how to get in with God. Without the Psalms our plea for Jesus to teach us how to pray goes unanswered. Luther says, "Ah, there is not the juice, the strength, the passion, the fire which I find in the Psalter. It tastes too cold and too hard." (Yes, he is probably referring to a strong alcoholic beverage.) And yes, if the entire Bible were in letter form, Psalms would probably be the post script, passionately teaching us how to live out everything in the body of the letter.

Likewise, if what we do on Sunday mornings is the body of the letter, then P.S. (Prayer and Song) is the post script, a time for us to go after God passionately and unabashedly.

Our plan is to have a P.S. night once quarterly, that is until our people simply can't get enough of it, at which time we'll make schedule adjustments. Our next one will be January 4, and we will focus on the Epiphany. The following P.S. will be on Pentecost Sunday, May 31. In the meantime we will be having a few Church Year Family Nights, such as an Advent Night of Carols (Dec. 7), Christmas Eve Service, Ash Wednesday Service, and, I can't wait for this, a Good Friday Passover Seder.

Well, I'm off to California with my family and without my computer.

I leave you with another Bonhoeffer quote.

"Lord, teach us to pray!" So spoke the disciples to Jesus. In making this request, they confessed that they were not able to pray on their own, that they had to learn to pray. The phrase "learning to pray" sounds strange to us. If the heart does not overflow and begin to pray by itself, we say, it will never "learn" to pray. But it is a dangerous error, surely very widespread among Christians, to think that the heart can pray by itself. For then we confuse wishes, hopes, sighs, laments, rejoicings - all of which the heart can do by itself - with prayer. And we confuse earth with heaven, man and God. Prayer does not mean simply to pour out one's heart. It means rather to find the way to God and to speak with him, whether the heart is full or empty. No man can do that by himself. For that he needs Jesus Christ.

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