Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Wondering about Worship

The article on John Calvin came out in Sunday's paper. Before sending it to the editor, I made a few changes and added the paragraph about executing heretics. You can see the published version here.

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Two random thoughts about worship assemblies:

1. I think it would be better if prayer leaders finally stopped thanking the Lord that we can worship without the fear of molestation. To people under 50 years old that doesn't sound quite right. The word molest has changed in meaning since that worn-out phrase was invented. The older meaning of the word is not what teenagers think when they hear it.

2. I understand that in the Middle Ages the image of the church (or the individual Christian) being nursed by Christ was a common spiritual theme. It didn't seem weird to people who've gone before us. I suspect it was a healthy thing for them to use a feminine metaphor to speak of what the Lord means to us. When we do that, we remind ourselves that the Almighty is sexless, that God is not some cosmic male. However, as a song leader, I exclude all songs that have us singing about the breast of Jesus. If it's just one verse, I might lead the song, but will skip that verse.

What other things do we do or say in our assemblies that simply mis-communicate?


David Smith said...

Perhaps we miscommunicate most frequently by simply not being “in the moment” and/or by not trying to offer “freshness” of thought and expression. Instead, we settle into routine ways of thinking and speaking so that we can put our minds on cruise control and not have to actually be engaged in whatever we’re doing.

Years ago, David Caskey penned the following as a parody of “the standard” opening prayer of a worship gathering among Churches of Christ. He nailed it; some of us could virtually quote it without having read it. The following version is Caskey’s version with some slight editing by Doug Williams.

Our dear Heavenly Father, we continue our thanks unto thee for this another opportunity we have to come together to study another portion of thy Word, and to worship Thee in spirit and in Truth without fear of molestation from any source.

Bless all those for whom it is our duty to pray for the world over, but especially those of the household of faith. If it be Thy will, restore them to their much needed and wanted health.

In like manner, bless Brother _______ as he breaks unto us the Bread of Life. Give him a ready recollection of the things He has prepared to say; and help us as listeners, that we might study these things to see if they are true. If they are, help us to apply them to our everyday lives as the need might be.

Help us to live closer to Thee in the future than we have in the past. Forgive us of all those sins both of omission or commission that we have committed since we last sought pardon at Thy bountiful hand.

And now Father continue with us through this service and through the remainder of our lives here on this earth.

Guide, guard and direct us, and be with us as we depart to our respective places of abode. And bring us back at the next appointed time. And if in the end we have been found faithful, give us a home with Thee in heaven. In Christ’s name we pray.


Frank Bellizzi said...

Thanks for your comment, David. Wow, that's the prayer. How many times have we heard it? And some say the Churches of Christ don't have a liturgy. . . .