_ The book I chose to read is “Discerning the Spirits – a guide to thinking about Christian worship today”. In the introduction, the authors state: “The main project of this book is to set a context and recommend a tone in which healthy decisions about worship may be conducted.” They are not advocating a particular approach to worship (knowing that every approach has its strengths and weaknesses), rather they encourage us all to discuss and argue (but not quarrel) about worship issues in a Christ-like manner: with respect and tolerance, humility, candor, hospitality, and forbearance. There are no easy answers, but there are some answers. These struggles play out in individual congregations, but have important ramifications for the faith as a whole. Rancor saps energy from the true purpose of church. We need to learn the fellowship of relationship as seen in the Trinity - a oneness in the unity of purpose – to move away from ‘self’ and personal preference.

It is time to move the discussion forward. In an era when Christianity is being increasingly marginalized, I am still amazed to hear judgmental wrangling by Christians regarding each other’s worship practices. Left wing/right wing, Catholic/Protestant, evangelical/mainline, Western/Orthodox, liturgical/non-liturgical, contemporary/traditional. We need to see that every tradition of worship expression has good things to offer to us all. While we all will have our own ‘emphases’, we need to expand our vision of God by learning from one another. This diversity of expression is the language of postmodern Canada.

Worship stands at the intersection of church and world/ Christ and culture. We have to be able to demonstrate to the world that Christianity leads to solutions, not divisions. We have to be counter- cultural, not anti-cultural. The first thing we need to learn to do is to be able to meaningfully talk to each other, despite our differences, regarding ways to help our 21st century worship be meaningful and transformative for our congregations (as well as for those not yet in the pews). The rest is in God’s hands.

3/6/2014 06:19:42 pm

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10/6/2015 02:20:01 am

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