Sunday, February 22

A Case For The Liturgy - Take II

Language Has Consequences ~ Dr. George Grant

How does one settle a dispute that has been raging since. . . well, since Paul wrote his letter to the Corinthians. At Least. The Church has argued for centuries now over what the best way to worship is. Should we go with the high church mentality and have a full blown Liturgy that requires a class to decipher which book you are to turn to next for the responsive reading? Or, on the other hand, is it wiser to go with the emergent/charismatic model and just let the spirit move you individually and without constraint.

I wonder if we are asking the wrong questions. After all, if God had wanted a specific liturgy, wouldn't He have set it out somewhere in the New Testament? Perhaps the question we should be asking is this: In what manner has God called me to worship Him and therefore in what manner would be most pleasing? I would offer up to you that me, an Anglo-Saxon male who was raised in the Mid-South would worship in a different manner than an African male raised in Zimbabwe. However, if our worship is truly Christ centric, it will be pleasing and acceptable unto God.

As I think through this particular issue, I am leaning more toward the idea that there is not one particular liturgy for worship, but several. And the idiosyncrasies of each particular liturgy are both culturally driven yet biblically informed. With that being said, there are tenets of a true liturgy that must be met in order for the liturgy to be true worship. 1) God calls His people to worship - we do not call ourselves. 2) God speaks to His people through His word - the Word is exegetically proclaimed. 3) A corporate confession of Sin 4) A response to God's Grace 5) A corporate confession of our faith, and finally 6) God sends His people out - the Benediction.

These particular marks can look different depending on where you live, what language you speak, or perhaps even more significantly, if you live in the rural south. But seriously, the tenets mentioned above are spoken of throughout both the Old and the New Testaments and though they may look different depending on local, they follow a specific model that has been placed before us.

Questions are good. If we ask the right questions. I want to continue asking questions, but my prayer is that my questions are biblically informed and not snobbishly mis-guided.

Saturday, February 7

65 degrees and sunny

The beauty of the day says that all is well, but there's fear in the air.
God comes to a virgin girl and says, fear not,
I am with you, even overshadowing you,
My power will produce a child in your frame,
A man child who will know you as mother,
To the wonder of the world, he will take up his cross,
Deny his parents and follow a trail of tears,
Pursuing the lame, the blind, the deaf, the dumb,
Victims of a darkened world, an unholy planet,
Lost beneath the ruins, he digs up the fallen,
Restores to the brokenhearted their brother,
Children receives he to bless and speak in parables
The sleeping children of Israel to awake,
With stories that confound these men and those who walk
With him on the path of sorrows he brings his friends.
Fear not, and walk to him on the water,
For with God, all things he wills will be possible.

Upon reading The Faces of Jesus, Frederick Buechner.

Monday, February 2

The World Spins Madly On

"I think of your face, wonder where you have gone, and the world spins madly on" ~ The Weepies

The world spins madly on. How we wish we could stop it. In many ways we feel like for us it is stopped. We see transactions occur, people flash by like apparitions. Work, merciless in its dogged pursuit of fallen goals, relentless in its tugging at our shoulder, leads us with chains of iron.

I believe that God granted us a protection in our grief that shields us from returning too soon to the normalcy of life. In fact, I would go further to say that as we walk with the "crook in our lot" we are reminded that what we lived before is not normal, and what we are living now is more normal. I do not want to go back to the man I was before the birth of my son. My son has changed me, or rather, the hand of God through the death of my son has changed me.

But grief is like a chameleon, it changes. It matures. And this is necessary; grief is healthy, but when it leads to depression, the positive aspects are stripped and we are no longer transformed for the better through our grief. I have felt a tearing as of late. A desperation to run as fast as I can to the physical location where the memories of my son are is tempered by a peaceful beckoning that calls me to venture beyond his leaving. I know that his leaving led to his life, in a small temporal way my leaving will also contribute to my life.

Like a crippled man taking small steps, I tasted the breath of new life lived through friendship this past weekend. It was sweet and it was real. Electra and I, like two Canadian trappers stepping out of their cabin during the first semi-mild day of Spring, stuck our heads out into the life of our local community. The breath was sweet, and for a moment the world stopped spinning madly on.