I stumbled across a blog by Mandy Thompson that got me really thinking about worship service and if we consider history when we worship. The questions she was asking included:
“A right use of the knowledge of historical forms of Christian worship could assist us in the 20th century American Church by helping us to break free from bondage to our own culture.” ~Jeffrey Meyers
do we have a right use of our knowledge of historical forms of worship?
do we have accurate knowledge of historical forms of Christian worship?
do you think a right use of this knowledge could help?
are we in bondage to our own culture?
My first thoughts…
My first thoughts seem to have run all over the place. Hitting from all different directions. But it really came down to a couple of points – (1) the word “right”, and (2) the method of delivery. With that in mind, here are my amended words:
I will pick on the one word repeated above that is hardest to define – “right.” How do you define right? If you define “right,” is that actually “right” defined by our culture? In addition, for me this is more about the “method” than the message. I hope we don’t get to a point where people stop being creative because there are others that feel it is just right the way it is, or for some reason we feel God does not want us to be creative in our passion for Him.
With that said, Church is about Christ. Christ and the bible are our historical knowledge. Notice I did not say which version of the bible is followed, what songs are sung, or whether a person wears a suit vs. a pair of shorts. Church is about Christ – plain and simple. History points that out for us. The bible points that out for us. Personally I am glad that things have changed. I like the fact that I can feel more relaxed in God’s house. I like that I can dress the same as I do every day, thus reinforcing the fact that every day is God’s day – not just Sunday. I like to hear contemporary Christian songs. I like a lot of the changes we see today in the church – we are adapting and changing to our culture to stay relevant from a “method” stand point – to stay in front of the world and continue to capture their attention.
So, like I said, for me it all comes down to the method not the message. As you read the Bible, Jesus did things differently, radically, in a way that bucked the current system. He told the religious leaders that they just didn’t get it if all they did was hold onto their traditions and preaching those same traditions. As a perfect example to that – remember when Jesus gave us the Lord’s Prayer – His intent wasn’t for us to blindly recite it over and over again – no He was giving us a sample prayer because we wanted to know how to pray. If all we do is follow the tradition of saying the Lord’s Prayer without actually feeling anything then we missed the point…
Now I realize that there are some that will say for them reciting the Lord’s Prayer is powerful…hearing it in unison is powerful… to that I say fantastic. Include the history, but don’t forget that there are creative ways to praise our God. And those creative ways are just as powerful to others.
So to sum it up, the methods have changed over the years. We have different types of music, different types services, different days of worship, different approaches altogether. In terms of worship, for me history gives me a base to work from, but not an absolute. The only absolutes I have are God, Jesus, and the message that was brought to us via the bible.
So what do you think?