June 5, 2013

My last word on worship (for now)

Okay, I don't want to over do this but I continue to have conversations with folks in and outside of the Episcopal Church about worship. It hasn't been the case in the dialogs I've had of late, but too often we battle about how we worship (musical genre, style, etc.) rather than concerning ourselves with why we worship and what is happening during worship. For some background, I previously jotted down some thoughts on the subject here, here and here.
[This is] the Act in which we are now living and in which we are to make our own unique, unscripted and yet obedient, improvisation. This is how we are to be the church, for the world. As we do so, we are calling into question the world’s models of authority, as well as the content and direction of that authority.
—N.T. Wright, "How Can The Bible Be Authoritative?" Published in Vox Evangelica, 1991

In the most earnest sense, God is the critical theatergoer, who looks on to see how the lines are spoken and how they are listened to: hence here the customary audience is wanting. The speaker is then the prompter, and the listener stands openly before God. The listener ... is the actor, who in all truth acts before God.
—Søren Kierkegaard, Purity of Heart
I've found myself going back to writers that–unbeknownst to me at the time–lead me to my increasingly "informal yet sacramental" view of worship. And here's why this is so important to me as of late: I think worship has got to matter–has got to be tethered to–our every day lives. I now worship with a tradition that utilizes many practices that have until now been more novelty than routine. The more it becomes a part of who I am, the more I find myself trying to make sense of it–understand it, theologize it. Pulling from Wright and Kierkegaard, here's how I've been piecing this together in my head lately:
Act 1, Memory-the calling: remembering (being reminded of) why we do this
In act one, we read Scriptures that remind us who we are and why we are gathered together. It’s the stage call; beckoning the characters to the stage. It’s intended to remind us that God’s story is the story we are living out in the rest of our lives.

Act 2, Community-the communion: reuniting (and reconciling) with God and each other
In act two, is the “peak” of our time together. We are reminded that we are not alone; that we go about life with each other and with God. During this time we offer reconciliation with God and each other, and celebrate the Lord’s Table–we feed on the Word through the bread and wine, through the reflection of Scripture... together.

Act 3, Mission-the commission: re-engaging with our world
In act three, we begin the “slide” back out into the world. It’s when we remember that this “separate” activity is done publicly and for the purpose of our lives--that are lived “out loud”, or in public.

What do you think? Does this make sense? And if it does, how much permission does it provide us for exploring any number of ways of going about doing this?

1 comment :

Joey Rick said...

Makes total sense. I think we should map it to Rite III in the BCP and teach people to be creative with it. But not in a tactical way -- like a silver bullet -- in a spiritual and adaptive way...the 5 Whys is the most powerful exercise in most conversations, and if we are truly willing to go deep, the answers to what we need are already there for us. Thank you for being with us on the journey!

Post a Comment