Wednesday, April 27, 2011

An Idea for a Worship Gathering

One of the requirements of my worship class is that I design a worship service that is meaningful for me. This is what I have so far.

1. Share a Meal – There is no more authentic way to get to know another person than to eat with him or her. Furthermore, this part of the service could help welcome those with little to no resources.

2. Interactive Celebration/Testimonies – I want to create space in the service where we celebrate things like birthdays and where people can talk about where they saw God at work during their week.

3. Guided Prayer Time – This would be a time to get centered. We would use this time to pray for one another as well.

4. Scripture Reading/Sermon I believe God uses others to help proclaim his good news and to explain the Bible. This is an essential part of the service.

5. Song – I imagine this time to be prayerful and reflective. This may be a solo, a choral piece, or an “all sing” number.

6. Prayer of ConfessionIn order for us to live into the fullness of life we must be aware of our depravity. When we confess, we own up to our junk and we ask to be freed from it.

7. Eucharist – In John Yoder’s book, Body Politics, he writes that the Lord’s Supper was originally a natural part of the early Christians' shared life together. They would conclude regular meals by remembering Jesus through breaking bread and drinking wine. While some might think that this view of the Eucharist diminishes its holiness into something common like a meal, I think it elevates sharing a meal to something holy like worshipping.

8. Prayer of ThanksgivingThis prayer would be a response to the previous element of the service as well as a response to all that God is doing and has done.

9. Dessert CelebrationThis element would be a continuation of the Prayer of Thanksgiving.


Update: 4/28/11

Some people have emailed me some great feedback. I thought I would include one of my responses to a person who asked me my theological motivation for a couple of the elements.

First I need to let you know that I would not choose this service in all contexts. I have a pastoral motivation. I am called to help people recognize and follow the voice of God. I interpret that to mean that I need to help share the good news in a way that the people can understand it.

I agree with your definition of worship. There are plenty of passages of scripture that support that definition (her definition of worship is giving praise to a holy God). However, I think worship goes beyond that as well. Romans 12:1 seems to imply that true worship is sacrificial living. In Amos 5 God rejects the Israelites' precise worship because they are not living lives of justice and righteousness. These passages (along with ones like Matthew 5:23-24 and more indirect passages like 1 Corinthians 13 and Matthew 25:39-41) lead me to believe that the purity of our worship of the living God is very much tied to how well we are loving each other.

A more anecdotal response:
Has any of the following happened to you?
- Walked away from a conversation thinking, "Wow, I just experienced God while talking with that person."
- Climbed to the top of a peak and thought, "I am experiencing the fullness of God in this very moment."
If you have, then you at least recognize that worship goes much further beyond songs, organized prayer, and a sermon.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

To My Coffee Bean Angel

Sometimes I just need a reminder. Well, let's just say I often need a reminder. I need encouragement that one day we will overcome this gargantuan mound of student loan debt and rise triumphantly to live life debt free. With debt free living comes more generous living. In an effort to be even more efficient we have recently moved to the "cash envelope system" made famous by Dave Ramsey. We ran out of our grocery cash on day one of the week. We have more than enough food. However, we also ran out of coffee...and I need coffee almost as much as I need oxygen. So I did what comes natural to me...I began to internally whine and wonder if we'd ever make it. In spite of all of the ways God has provided for us the past two years through generous people I was still uneasy about the future.

To give you an idea of how ridiculous my uneasiness is/was, the cheapest thing somebody did for us was pay $300 to get our car fixed...that is the CHEAPEST. One might think that I would actually trust that God will provide by now...

Today when I walked into the office there was a glorious pound of whole coffee beans waiting to greet me at my door. I just needed a subtle reminder that I am being too dramatic and that things are going to be ok. I am seriously blown away by the timeliness of this generous act. So, thanks for the beans whoever you are. God sent you to me today.