Worship, Music, and Spirituality: What a Blessing!

April 28, 2024
colourful 50 anniversary banner with gold laurel

I have been writing to you from the Worship, Music, and Spirituality Desk for over a decade now, and one of the things I have consistently heard over the years is what a blessing Gathering is. I have translated this compliment to mean anything but blessing (e.g., lifesaver, treasure, practical) because I have a bias towards the word blessed. Truthfully, it gets on my blessed nerves (if I can be blunt) because I often find it used very flippantly, as I just used it, and not at all in a way that is representative of the sacred meaning I believe the word to hold.

To my understanding, blessed is not a contentment or a run of good fortune, but a feeling of being deeply loved. Blessings are the words of armour that I surround my child with each day to counteract the hateful, demeaning, and harmful messages that the world will surely send to him. I pray that my blessings, both verbal and non-verbal, will act as a shield to protect him from the cruelties of the broken world that we live in. Blessings are sacred.

The same is true each week in worship. Through our words and actions in worship, we attempt to share and embody Christ’s blessing. I had a professor who insisted that the blessing was the most important part of the service, particularly for communities where people find themselves marginalized, oppressed, or on the fringes. It is our job to make sure that everyone leaving church knows and feels that they are loved by God, no matter what. People should leave church empowered by the glimpse of God’s realm that they have experienced in worship, especially if the society they live in is oppressive.

The thing is, in order to effectively do our job in sharing God’s blessing to God’s people, we must be in some sort of active relationship with those people. We would need to know them, so that we can love them. Over the past 50 years of Gathering, it is fair to say that we have really gotten to know each other. We have trusted each other with the words of our hearts, with the hopes that they might be of use to others in our shared task of embodying and building God’s realm. These are acts of love and camaraderie that we share with each other for the sake of the church.

While I still mentally edit out the word blessing when I come across it in church land, I have come to appreciate that it is an appropriate term when describing the role and place of Gathering; it is a blessing! And I feel very blessed by this growing community.

Worshipping with you,


Alydia Smith, Program Coordinator, Worship, Music, and Spirituality