Worship at Sojourn Community Church

During our mission trip to New Orleans, we worshipped at the Sojourn Community Church.  Found out about it since the Church Basement Road Show Tour stopped there.  On the top floor in a cool part of town on Magazine Street, Sojourn shares space with the Convergence Center for the Arts. 

We entered the loft area and saw two sets of 3 rows of chairs facing each other.  Each row may have had 12 chairs or so.  Nothing was exactly in the middle space and the communion table sat to the left (in the middle.  Picture 3 o’clock if you were sitting next to me).  No projection screen, no coffee bar, no band set-up  Hmmm, I was starting to wonder if we could have church with only a communion table, a stool, and some chairs!  Not only that, but the pastor was late. Which wasn’t a big deal, I just thought it was funny because I assumed he must have been a youth pastor at some point (that and he was knowledgeable, relevant and spoke well, obviously a former youth pastor).

The pastor welcomed us and explained that the church laptop was stolen and therefore they were unable to print out the morning handout.  He bantered a bit, gave a few announcements and explained the vision of Sojourn.  

Seriously, I think we all found peace in its simplicity.  I’m told in the good old days of church ministry, the pastor’s wife played the worship music.  This was true for Sojourn.  There were a couple differences.  She looked cool, played guitar, and most of us would have listened to her voice wherever she was playing.  

We sang, “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” and an original of hers.  The chorus had “You Oh Lord are my resting place”.  We segued into a time of time of silence and prayer.

The pastor began by referencing NT Wright’s Surprised by Joy and Dawkin’s God Delusion.  He gave Einstean’s theory of absurdity as repetition expecting different results.   We needed to acknowledge our brokenness.  He mentioned our common good and how has to extend to other truly otherwise it only benefits you and leads to self-righteousness.

He told the story of the two men that were healed by Jesus.  One was uncomfortable and the other acknowledged his brokeness.  The pastor asked, “Can you acknowledge your brokenness?  the world’s? Acknowledging leads to humility.

The conclusion was that we needed to shed some of our layers that hide the Gospel story of redemption. We cannot find our identity in our sin.  Instead, we need to find it in Christ as his beloved bride.   

I was blessed by the message. I had to pause and think about one of the more challenging things he said, “sometimes postmodernism doesn’t want to acknowledge something is wrong”.  I’ll post about that soon.

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