February 19th, 2008
Alyssa Lord, beloved Worship Community member, is experiencing worship in a foreign country–England. from her own private English castle overlooking the coast, she writes:
“I’m really enjoying my time here. It’s intense and a lot of work, but I like the challenge and schedule. I’ve joined a college chapel choir that does Evensong liturgical services, and have been visiting many area churches to experience different worship communities. It’s been quite interesting to worship God in new forms. At first, the liturgy bothered me, and I found myself distracted by the format; but after attending several Anglican services, I found that I was able to praise God in new ways, that the form actually opened new space for prayer and reflection. Of course, music here is exceptional: most churches/cathedrals have beautiful organs and choirs. I have never been so appreciative of music, or aware of my ability to worship through melody as I have been here. Just this past Sunday, I attended an evangelical/baptist equivalent, and after so many Anglican/high church services, the comparison was quite interesting. It was nice to have the familiar worship songs, and feel more relaxed, but I missed the reverence and awe of God that pervaded some of the other services, even if the stiffer order of service might seem to divide the congregation and a distant God; that is, in some respects, though God is extremely personal, through more liturgical services, I feel I’ve been reminded of his holiness – what it means that he is God over all; a reminder that has inspired humility and respect, but above all, praise and wonder at his glory and love.”
Editor’s note: just kidding about Alyssa having her own English castle. that was just a ploy to get you to read the paragraph.
what say ye about your experiences worshiping God in different contexts?
January 10th, 2008
Dearest Worship Community,
did you know that there is a channel on MCSquare that includes the current chapel rotation? believe it or not, it exists! it’s interactive AND actually useful this year!
to access this channel:
1) sign into MCSquare.
2) click the “Campus Life” tab.
3) scroll down. you should see the Worship Community channel (directly below the College Ministries channel). here you will find two links—the first is for the spring chapel rotation and the second is for the blog.
[click the thumbnail below if you need a visual of where the channel is located.]
4) send David Perry a thank-you email for all the work he does to coordinate worship on campus.
in constant appreciation for your God-given skills and how you use them to serve the Body of Christ,
(Occasional) Worship Consultant
November 29th, 2007
from the prayer for the community written by John Eskate:
Lord God, this is crazy. Two nights ago I was yelling at you in my bed, demanding that you tell me how I’m supposed to deal with all of these projects that are due, of which I couldn’t even bring myself to work on because I was so anxious and scared by the sheer size of the load. Yet here I am, before my brothers and sisters at Messiah College, praying for them and for myself that you continue to be there for us. I think we’re beginning to realize, if we don’t already, that we need you. We can’t do this on our own. When we begin to think thoughts of quitting, you show us each other, you bring us together, in the halls, on our floors, in the library and in the Union; to support and encourage each other. I cannot count how many friends and family members that have told me over the past week that I’ll pull through this, encouraging me that I will make it to the end of the semester in one piece. Even though I am alone in completing my projects, you give me so many brothers and sisters to keep me company when I need it. For this, we thank you. If there is someone in this auditorium that feels they don’t have any brothers and sisters they can turn to, help us to be there for him or for her; literally steal our attention away from whatever we are doing, and help us to recognize these brothers and sisters in need. For you are too good to us that we should not hold back our love from each other. Lord God, don’t let us forget to thank you as you help us along the way and at the finish of our semester. Help us to find the hope and glory in thanking you always, so that we may be better servants to you and to each other. You are the future God, not the end. Amen.
October 3rd, 2007
Urban Holmes proposed an understanding of spirituality based on two axes which, when used together, produce four types of orthodox Christian spirituality.
According to Allan Sager, the vertical scale is an “orientation/ends” axis. The upper hemisphere represents those who seek illumination of the mind in their desire to know God. Those in the southern hemisphere seek illumination of the heart, desiring to have an affective rather than speculative relationship with God.
The horizontal axis is a “technique/means” scale indicating the preferred ways and means of going about the spiritual life. The word kataphatic means “to engage the revealed God by attempting to image God through the senses.” The word apophatic means “negative,” therefore suggesting that God is best reached by negation, forgetting, and unknowing in sensory darkness without the support of concepts, images, and symbols.
Check out the chart below and see if you can place yourself within this schema.
What does this chart have to do with worship?
May 4th, 2007
Once we have come to the point that we can allow God to be for us always new, always beckoning–beyond any single way of worship, any one set of devotions, any need to be less than alive and full of the joy of it, any desire to close off people and life, any idea that the daily is dull and empty of real spiritual experience, we have begun to grow into the spiritual life. Then we are finally ready to find God in the very lives we are leading right now.
No doubt about it: if we are created by God the Creator, then living creation well–in concert with creation and in communion with the Creator–is the ultimate spiritual life. Anything less than that, anything that divides life into opposing parts–into the “spiritual” and the “material”–as if one were not the essence of the other, may be religion, but how can it possibly be a healthy spirituality?
from the book Called to Question: A Spiritual Memoir written by Joan D. Chittister, OSB
April 12th, 2007
For those of us who are liturgically minded and for those of us without a clue about the church calendar, Doug has a reminder: Easter Sunday, while it’s the culmination of the season of Lent, is also the beginning of the season of Easter in the church calendar year.
Let us focus our minds on this prayer from Walter Brueggemann:
Not the kingdom of death
Christ is risen!
We give thanks for the gift of Easter
that runs beyond our expectations,
beyond our categories of reason,
even more, beyond the sinking sense of our own lives.
We know about the powers of death,
powers that persist among us,
powers that drive us from you, and
from our neighbour, and
from our best selves.
We know about the powers of fear and greed and anxiety,
and brutality and certitude.
powers before which we are helpless.
And then you…you at dawn, unquenched,
you in the darkness,
you on Saturday,
you who breaks the world to joy.
Yours is the kingdom…not the kingdom of death,
Yours is the power…not the power of death,
Yours is the glory…not the glory of death.
Yours…You…and we give thanks
for the newness beyond our achieving.
Walter Brueggemann, Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth
March 16th, 2007
go here: http://blogs.salon.com/0004870/message.html
and listen to the clips from a concerned pastor:
February 26th, 2007
from Eugene Peterson’s book A Long Obedience:
“If Christians only worshipped when they felt like it, there would be precious little worship that went on. Feelings are important in many areas, but completely unreliable in matters of faith….
“Living in the age of sensation, we think that if we don’t feel something, there can be no authenticity in doing it. But the wisdom of God says something different, namely, that we can act ourselves into a new way of feeling much quicker than we can feel ourselves into a new way of acting. Worship is an act which develops feelings for God, not a feeling for God which is expressed in an act of worship. When we obey the command to praise God in worship, our deep, essential need to be in relationship with God is nurtured.”
December 7th, 2006
one of Doug’s favorite thoughts on worship:
“If creation includes all that God has made–physical material entities, as well as plants and animals, and all peoples and cultures–then all day long on a Christian college campus we study the praise and lament that all creation offers. Public worship simply gives explicit expression to this praising and lamenting. It does not generate the ‘vertical’ or ‘God-ward’ orientation of things. It simply helps us to recognize it and articulate it.”
–Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, John Witvliet, director
Worship Community members, bookmark this blog, as there will be important information forthcoming.