Wednesday, April 03, 2013


REAL Worship

Leroy Huizenga @ First Things:
In recent years, however, while continuing to play in worship bands, I began to become increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of “contemporary worship.” As Rich Mullins, to this day one of my heroes, once said, contemporary Christian music is great entertainment, but it doesn’t belong in worship. (Ironic, indeed, coming from the guy who gave us “Awesome God” and “Sometimes by Step.”) I realized I was standing up front, on a stage, cranking hard on a guitar, or a bass, or a trap set, while leading a coffee-clutching congregation in singing lyrics that (as one internet graphic has it) involve “bad metaphors about God that seem oddly sexual.” I came to a point a few years ago where I realized our Sunday morning worship has hardly that at all; it looked and felt much more like a Top-40 pop-rock concert geared toward making an audience feel good than something designed to bring us to an encounter with the Almighty God revealed at Sinai and ultimately in Jesus Christ.


Form and content are not finally separable, for the medium is indeed the message, or more cautiously, the form affects the content greatly. If our modern forms are emotive and superficial, we will wind up with a vision and experience of God that is emotive and superficial. Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi—how we worship shapes how we believe and thus how we live.

We need not make up worship, for liturgy is something given, something revealed, something objective, not something we concoct out of our own desires or feelings. In broad strokes, Christian liturgy comes from the Old Testament and Jewish culture fulfilled and interpreted by Jesus and the apostles. The liturgy of the Word comes from the liturgy of the synagogue, which involved prayers, Scripture, and preaching. The liturgy of the Eucharist (or Holy Communion, if you prefer) comes from Jesus’ institution of the Lord’s Supper as the fulfillment of temple sacrifice. Of course there are many different rites across the times and spaces Christian history comprises, but they (should) stand in continuity with liturgical tradition going back to Eden, the first temple, and be theologically informed.

'Nuff Said - read the whole thing
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