O God, you make us glad with the weekly remembrance of the glorious resurrection of your Son our Lord: Give us this day such blessing through our worship of you, that the week to come may be spent in your favor; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
I am working my way again through Simon Chan’s marvelous book, Liturgical Theology. As a Pentecostal scholar who calls us back into the deep “traditions” of the Church, I have found this book to be a refreshing read over the years. Chan doesn’t pull punches.
He wants us to return to Cyprian’s goal of saying one who doesn’t have the Church as their Mother cannot call God their Father. Bold stuff for a Pentecostal.
The current “thought of the day” out of this book is his reminder of “mission.” We have been preoccupied with numbers, so we forget our mission. We think our mission is soul-winning. It is not. We are the Body of Christ demonstrating the power of the Kingdom in this world. It is far beyond counting noses at an altar call.
Worship should mark us as different. Worship should look different. It’s not about the entertainment factor. We are called to worship in spirit and in truth.
Mission does not seek to turn sinners into saved individuals; it seeks, rather, to turn disparate individuals into a worshiping community. The preoccupation of the modern church with numbers often misses the real goal of mission. Instead of turning out find works of art, the modern church tends to model its mission on the mass-production factory. The church becomes an efficiently run factory. We then market the megachurch as the model of a successful church. Is it any wonder that grandiose strategies of winning the world for Christ have produced a bloated church whose ways and values are not very different from those of the world? The ministry becomes departmentalized… mission is left to church-growth specialists, counseling is done by professionally trained counselors, and the pastor serves as CEO. (p. 45)
Let us worship. Let us produce pieces of fine art in this world… and leave the mass production to the cheap tricks of this world!
We are on a short vacation in Pensacola, FL with some great friends and our oldest son and daughter-in-law. When away from my church I love other church traditions. What a joy to be at a very old Episcopal Church on Holy Trinity Sunday. The liturgy was beautiful and the surroundings were gorgeous.
The focus on the doctrine of the Trinity was front and center. The readings, songs, prayers, all centered us on the core doctrine of Trinity. It was a profound worship service, and a great reminder in those surroundings that worship isn’t about ME. It is about our great God!
The priority needs to be given to the public reading of Scripture. We need to systematically read the Scripture in public. The story needs to be impressed into our collective memories.
“If the sermon follows some form of lectio divina (in which the whole of Scripture is read over a period of time), we are more likely to avoid the habit of reading from a few favorite books (usually the Epistles) and preaching from our favorite texts… What we call the ‘exposition of the Scriptures’ should be the clarification of the Story so we can listen to it more attentively and relate to the events more fully.” — Simon Chan, Spiritual Theology
Collect of the Day: Sixth Sunday of Easter
O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
What he has for us is far beyond the small dreams we may have for ourselves.
“Sacraments are funny things. They are short and simple, they involve the simplest elements in our environment, and they require few words. The more we get out of the way the better. Yet they change people. People remember them for their whole lives.” — David Hansen, The Art of Pastoring (Revised Edition)