Worship and the Arts at St. Peter’s

O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless…. – From the Collect for the Seventh Sunday of Easter, Book of Common Prayer 1979

These words, from the opening Collect of this final Sunday of the Easter season, fix with precision our current spiritual and liturgical coordinates. We rejoice in Christ’s ascension, yet there is a sense of waiting, expectation, and perhaps even of nagging uncertainty as we wait for the other comforter, the advocate, the Spirit of truth and understanding. To what, as Father Jacob asked us in his sermon this past Sunday, is the Spirit calling each of us? To what is the Spirit calling St. Peter’s? In more than two years working alongside Paul Keller as a vestry liaison for worship and the arts at St. Peter’s, I have seen how a few of those callings are being worked out in our midst.

Worship feeds us in times of uncertainty. As we wait for the coming of the Spirit in our own lives and in our broader community, we come to church and find in the worship of God something of what we were searching for. Whether it be through hearing a favorite hymn or anthem, an ear-catching phrase in the lectionary, the message of the sermon, or participation in the Eucharistic feast, we are filled with the love of Christ.

As we are filled with the love of Christ, we reflect it into the world. Worship is the source and the expression of our ministries as a parish. When we are joined together in Christ’s love, we are called to show that love in the wider world. Our outreach, our strivings for social justice, our artistic endeavors all find their inspiration in our collective worship. We support the Choir School at St. Peter’s and Center City Concerts because we know that these organizations feed souls and bring joy. Whether we feel ourselves to be bold followers or slightly timid ones as yet, we are called to do Christ’s work in the world.

Worship leads us to a life of dedication. Whether in service to our parish or to the wider community, members of St. Peter’s show their dedication. A conservative estimate of the hours members spent volunteering just in liturgical roles was 9,000 hours in 2016. The Spirit calls lectors to read the Word of God. The Spirit calls members of the Flower and Altar Guilds to bring beauty to our church building each week. The Spirit is calling the choir not only to weekly offerings in worship, but to take a pilgrimage to St. Alban’s, England in August to grow as an ensemble and to bring back to St. Peter’s a renewed sense of dedication in worship and the arts.

As you contemplate your life at St. Peter’s, to what is God’s Spirit calling you?

Abigail Cudabac, Vestry Member