Monday, January 24, 2011
Worship at the Upper Room
Last night the worship team at Chain of Lakes attended the 5:00 p.m. worship service at Upper Room in St.Louis Park. Upper Room is a church that spun off from Christ Presbyterian in Edina about two years ago. At the last worship meeting at Chain of Lakes Church I suggested that our worship team worship together at other churches to learn about different worship styles. Our worship team oversees the general direction of worship at Chain of Lakes Church.
On November 9, 2009 I shared a blog about attending worship at Upper Room. That blog can be found by going through the links on the right side of this blog.
My daughter, Hannah and I were late at arriving at Upper Room last evening. I left our hosue with plenty of time to spare, but the GPS on my I-Phone didn’t work well. We parked at least two blocks from the church—it was the closest we could get to the church. Upper Room is leasing space from Lutheran Church of the Resurrection.
When we arrived at the building Hannah and I walked through the wrong doorway. I knew the way to the sanctuary. As I came to the entrance of the sanctuary I met Kellie Burriss and her son. She was signing in her son so that he could participate in child care. When I opened the door to the sanctuary, the music hit me with a very strong force. The Praise Band was in high gear. I eventually saw three other people from Chain of Lakes sitting in the balcony, so we went upstairs to worship with them. Kellie gave up on the registration and worshipped with her son.
The ambience of the sanctuary was similar to when I’ve worshipped at Upper Room before. The sanctuary was dark, a large number of candles were lit throughout the sanctuary, different colored lighting shone throughout the service, three screens were lit with the lyrics to the songs.
The order of the service was similar to the order of other new churches I’ve visited in Blaine. The service started out with about 20 minutes of Praise Music; we then listened to a 35 minute sermon; celebrated Communion, heard a short talk by someone from Upper Room about some ministries of the church, and then were released.
I’ve always enjoyed the chance to participate in the faith rituals that Upper Room designs. Last night during Communion we were invited to take Communion by Intinction. We had the opportunity to kneel in front of a mirror, write on the mirror with a sharpie a value we want to be known for ourselves, and then pray. At least 16 stations were set up in the sanctuary. I know that many traditional Presbyterians would squirm at how Communion was distributed—or not distributed. We served the elements to ourselves.
What has always impressed me about Upper Room is the large number of young people who participate. It seemed to be that last night at least 90 percent of the people gathered were 45 and under.
Upper Room seems to be challenged by the facilities they are using. Even with two services they have too many people for their space.
In the past I’ve experienced a wonderful sense of mystery as I’ve worshipped at Upper Room. I missed that last night. Perhaps I missed it because I came to worship late and felt rushed when I arrived. I also missed a sense of organized hospitality. I was greeted by no one—this could be on me because Hannah and I walked through the wrong door.
As Hannah and I drove away I asked her what thoughts she had about worshipping at Upper Room. She didn’t like the lack of crosses in the sanctuary and she missed having a time of fellowship with others.
I very much appreciate what Upper Room is doing in worship. Any church that has the success they’ve had with young people needs to be thanked. We’re still developing our worship style at Chain of Lakes. I can’t imagine that we will look like the Upper Room, but I am glad that our worship team will talk about our shared experience of worshipping there.