Tim Chester explains the use of familiar elements in gathered worship.
Novelty will focus attention on what is being done rather than the object of worship, or even focus attention on those leading worship.
- Our gatherings normally have the same shape as outlined above: (1) call: we come to worship, (2) confession: we confess our sin, (3) word: we hear God’s voice, and (4) response: we respond in faith.
- We choose from a fairly small stock of confessions and creeds so the wording becomes familiar to people. For other aspects of the meeting (such as the call to worship or response to the word) will draw widely on the words of Scriptures, either read or responsively, as appropriate for the themes of the meeting.
We also want our gatherings to be responsive. That is, we to gather with the expectation that God will speak to us and that we will respond. So our meetings are planned, but with response built in and with a commitment to adapt, especially after the sermon. We expect God to be at work during our gathering and we want our meetings to facilitate that work. As those leading the meeting sense the congregation responding with conviction of sin or joy in Christ or wonder at God’s glory or resolve for mission, we want to ‘steward the moment’ by allowing people to express their response or expressing it on their behalf.
Read the whole post here, including some guidance from C.S. Lewis.
Amber Kay Satterfield (formerly Doran, she has recently married) speaks of her experience of chronic sickness; God’s presence; and ways people can truly incarnate the grace and love of God.
The tendency to want to fix the pain of those who are ailing is so strong that we need to absorb these perspectives over and over.
Stay right to the end.
ht here and here.
Here’s the introduction.
Holy Week has always been filled with the cries and songs of God’s people. From the chants of “Hosanna” at Christ’s Triumphal Entry to the hymn the disciples sing with Jesus after the upper room passover meal to Jesus’ own cries of Psalm 22 from the cross. Music is the gift God has given us to express the intensity of both communal events and personal laments. In this spirit we offer you a collection of new songs rooted in the life of Christ and the testimony of the church to the good news. Christ has died, Christ is Risen. Christ will come again!
The texts for this compilation come from a collection of hymns Charles Wesley published in 1746 “Hymns for Our Lord’s Resurrection.” Nestled away in this collection is a nine stanza hymn riffing on a section of a very long Anglican prayer called “The Great Litany.” The short piece we choose for this compilation is a meditation on the glories of Christ’s birth, life, death, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. It is an amazing poetic and theological vision of Jesus Christ and our life with him.
Have a listen.
There was a sunrise service on Easter Sunday at Mount Gambier’s Valley Lake.
But last week I saw this photo illustrating a blog post by Michael Milton.
Milton writes about a boyhood memory of attending an Easter Service in a cemetery.
We wouldn’t do it here.
But I love this photo.
As a bonus here’s a suitable song from Andrew Peterson for accompaniment.
On Sunday I used the illustration (from N.T. Wright, I think) about real celebration of resurrection life and how there should have been champagne on ice out in the morning tea room. And how there should be champagne on ice there every other day.
And I don’t really even like champagne that much.
Now that’s really just a metaphor.
It’s just that popping corks are somewhat associated with celebration in our culture.
For some it would be having a cup of tea using the fine china cups from the china cabinet and a tea-pot (not tea bags) and home-made biscuits (not packet ones).
But the kingdom of heaven is not eating and drinking.
Our celebration is living holy lives with lavish abandon.
Some may think that holiness is about restriction and not doing things.
It is about freedom to do everything pleasing to God.
With outrageous enthusiasm.
Because He is risen.
More thoughts from Paul Tripp here.
The Bible Society have a post about the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attending an Easter Morning service at St Andrew’s Anglican Cathedral in Sydney.
You can easily search around and find many other articles.
Perhaps not all of those will mention the central focus of the morning.
“Despite the hype and thousands of royal fans clamouring for a glimpse of the royal couple beyond the Cathedral doors, no mention was made of the Duke and Duchess during the service. In a nod to the real reason for Easter, the Dean of the Cathedral, Phillip Jensen said in his opening remarks: “We’re here today to welcome the Prince—of Peace, the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings.””