Photo: Jim Woodard - Maundy Thursday offerings at New Life
I've been talking at New Life a lot lately about worship as a spiritual practice. I believe that the ancient tradition of coming together to hear scripture read aloud, to sing and pray, is a time-tested ritual designed to bring us closer to God. It is a practice in meeting God on a schedule we do not set. "I can meet God anytime, pray anywhere," is a statement I often hear (as a reason not to attend worship). Of course. God is everywhere, and we should pray at all times. Setting aside time for communal worship is a discipline, and a gift of our time. Not just when it is convenient for us, but making that weekly ritual of thanks a priority. It is also an exercise in being part of a community of believers. The community is there for us when we need some one else to sing and pray for us, when our souls are sad or our faith is strained. And we are there when others need us to sing and pray and stand firm in faith for them.
As I've been thinking about this practice, one shift I've made is worshiping while on vacation. I know how much we gain from visitors to New Life, how much joy and encouragement they bring. So I visit our brothers and sisters in Christ, bringing greetings from our community to theirs. Often people bring me bulletins of congregations they visit on their travels - I love it!
When something comes up during our worship time on Sunday mornings (work, illness, a trip), you can also visit another worship service during the week. Below are some wonderful non-Sunday-morning options in Dripping Springs among church who are our ELCA full communion partners. Below that is a list of midweek services at the Church of Conscious Harmony not far away - for those of you who enjoy Centering Prayer and contemplative worship, as I do. And below that is a whole array of options in Austin. Go and visit! Worship with the larger body of Christ! Bring greetings from New Life and bring joy to other congregations! And practice the weekly spiritual discipline of communal worship and setting aside dedicated time to give thanks and praise to God.
Services other than Sunday mornings in Dripping Springs - ELCA Full Communion Partners
Holy Spirit Episcopal - eucharist Wednesdays 12 pm
Dripping Springs United Methodist - worship with communion Sundays 6 PM - bilingual service
Oak Hill United Methodist - worship with communion Wednesdays 6:15 pm
Weekday services at the Church of Conscious Harmony
7406 Newhall Lane • Austin, TX 78746
Morning Centering Prayer Service Monday – Friday 7:00-7:35am - The service is held in Theosis Chapel. It begins with 30 minutes of Centering Prayer and closes with a brief passage or prayer.
Midweek Contemplative service - Wednesday 6:00-7:00pm - The service begins with 20 minutes of Centering Prayer, followed by the liturgical Scripture readings for the day, a brief homily and celebration of the Eucharist.
Devotional Service - Friday 7:30-8:45pm - The service begins with 30 minutes of Centering Prayer, followed by Lectio Divina, intercessory prayer, celebration of the Eucharist, chanting and a brief compline.
Services other than Sunday mornings in Austin
Gethsemane Lutheran - eucharist Wednesdays 12 noon and 7 pm
Lutheran Campus ministy, Austin - worship Sundays 7 pm
St. John/San Juan Austin - Wednesdays 12 noon, communion first Wed of the month.
St. David’s - eucharist with healing Thursdays 11 am, daily prayer 8:30 am and 5:30 M-F
St. James - eucharist and breakfast Wednesdays 8 am, eucharist 4th Sundays 5 pm at Casa Marianella
St. George’s - eucharist and healing service Wednesdays 12:15 pm (Sept-May)
All Saints - Sundays - eucharist Sundays 6:30 pm when UT is in session, evensong 4 pm last Sunday of the month, worship 5 pm 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month
Seminary of the Southwest - eucharist Mon thru Sat - 11:45 am, morning prayer 9:30 am M-F, evening prayer 5 pm M-F
First United Methodist - Thursdays 6:30 am - after Feed by People breakfast
Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary - chapel 11 am Mon, Tues, Thurs (eucharist Thurs) when classes are in session