Another friend comments…
There is a wonderful old hymn whose first line says “Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love.” Old hymns, prayers and liturgies are some of the ways in which Christians are bound together in love over time. The old hymns and liturgies aren’t the only way to bind people together, but they are part of the stream of wisdom and faith that is shared with us. Being part of that stream of saints and those streams of thought that have come before me wherever I find myself is very reassuring. I think many contemporary hymns will stand the test of time (after all, how many of the old hymns weren’t particularly good and got tossed into the waste basket after a while?) - they will offer their wisdom to many and be cherished for generations to come. But, giving up the “old stuff” unilaterally takes us out of the larger context of Christian history and thought; it deprives us of beautiful music and poetry that express a love of God and neighbor, and that is truly a loss for us.
I couldn’t agree more! - Geoff
This is a brilliant and honest look at the Bible’s comprehensive focus… Christ. Why do we always orient things around us and what we want? I can see the argument for cultural adaption of liturgy and church meeting style’s so as not to distract people with the abruptness of differences that are purely human, but if there was a way to have a meeting organised solely around a pure ‘heavenly worship style’ then I suppose we could not find fault with it (save in our sinfulness). I think most of people’s issues with style do come where human cultures and backgrounds clash, however, not necessarily with the idea that we dont want God’s style… but that we are uncomfortable with someone elses…
A few years ago the Worship Commission published the “Covenant Core Values of Worship”. These are available (in text and as a pdf) if you click the Resources tab on this page. However, in discussing them with members of my worship team , we found them a little difficult to understand. I think, perhaps, the language carries an academic and theological tone that obscures the meaning for those who are unfamiliar with the terms.
Frankly, I don’t know if mine (written here) is any better. That’s why I’d love to hear back from you…
What do you think?
A re-statement of the “Covenant Core Values of Worship”:
“When Christians worship, we celebrate God’s initiative in creating us and calling us home. We delight and trust in His saving grace in Jesus Christ. God’s Word is central to our lives; we worship through expressions rooted in our common history and our response to God’s self-revelation using the language and metaphors of our culture. In our worship God draws us closer to Himself and one another and the Holy Spirit forms us into a community of Disciples of Christ.”
We rehearse the story of God our Creator and Redeemer; celebrate the exemplary life, sacrificial death and glorious resurrection of Christ, and we see our own story as part of His story (Acts 2.22-24).
As disciples of the incarnate Christ, we minister to God and to one another using human language, arts and culture, empowered and inspired by the Holy Spirit (Col 3.12-17). Following the example of scripture, our vocabulary of worship is broad and expresses a wide variety of emotions and attitudes.
United by the Spirit, we celebrate together and encourage one another to deepen the relationship with God, for which we were made and into which we are redeemed. We are committed to obeying the Great Commandments (Matt 22.37-40) and fulfilling the Great Commission (Matt 28.19-20).
As we draw near to God (James 4.8), not trusting to our own righteousness but invited as a privilege granted by Christ, (Hebrews 10.19-25) God is present in our company. The Holy Spirit illuminates the Word and inspires our celebration of His kingdom; and, from time to time God will open our hearts and minds to a clearer view of Himself.
We respond to Christ’s invitation to follow Him (Lk 6.26-27). As we follow, we also seek to lead those who are younger in faith and life to take His example and ours. (1 Cor 4.16-17; 11.1)
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