Thursday, October 29, 2009

Worship -- what is the vision it evokes?

This Sunday I will be concluding a six week sermon series focusing on six core values, the last of which focuses on worship. As we consider what it means for us to be missional, we must ask the question how does worship fit? My fear is that in many descriptions of missional congregations worship is either left out of the equation or is seen as means to something -- a tool. But is that worship is about?

I've been reading Kimberly Bracken Long's book The Worshiping Body (WJK, 2009). It's quite a good book, one that pastors and worship leaders probably ought to read. She speaks of the "vision we enact whenever we gather for worship." She notes that in worship we come as equals and are made equals in worship through our baptism. Listen to these words, which I believe should have great meaning for us as people of faith.

In other words, we enact a vision in worship where all are equal in the sight of God, and all are treated as such, with dignity and love. We act out of the grace that all receive, poured out in equal and abundant measure. We live out in our worship -- and at our most faithful, in the world -- that vision where the rules of the world cease to have any power and God's realm is the one that is really real. In enacting together the promised reign of God, we lean expectantly into the coming kingdom even as we wait and pray for it. It is an active waiting, where we describe the vision without words and act it out with our hands and feet and faces -- indeed, with our whole bodies." (Long, p. 9)

Here is a vision that brings us together as a body, prompted yes by leaders, but prompted in a way that we expectantly await the reign of God.

1 comment:

John said...

I have several understandings of worship:

1) An act expressing gratitude to God.

2) An act of sacrifice, undertaken as a token of gratitude and as a token of and in imitation of the gifts and sacrifices which have been made by God on our behalf.

For worship to be a meaningful experience for me I need to feel personally involved in the expression of gratitude and in the token sacrifice to the Lord. Otherwise I am a mere spectator at someone else's act of worship.

John