Friday, July 20, 2007

Random thoughts as I study

No rhyme or reason, and less organization to this post... just random thoughts. (I won't bore you with excuses for my long absence)

Participation is a matter of intention. You can physically go through motions of standing, sitting, talking, singing, dancing, parading, eating, bowing, etc and not participate. When I talk about participation I mean an attitude of intentional participation. “Worship is an expression of the community, not something done to the people by the worship leaders… I have been privileged to experience the electricity of a congregation that enters the sanctuary anticipating how God will meet them in a unique way. Worship there and elsewhere overflows with life in the Spirit.” *

I know this is true because of my experience at IWS. And, it doesn’t happen there because of great planning, perfect music, and just the right structure. It happens there because every person walking into that space is expecting to worship God. Not expecting to be entertained, or even expecting to come out of it a better person – a noble sentiment and one not without foundation. But, each person enters into worship knowing that they are, themselves, worshiping God in the community, fully participating to the best of their abilities at that given moment.

As time continues to move and we leave our modern sensibilities behind more and more every day, we must be present to the new understanding of the world around us in this postmodern time. We do not change the gospel – it is the one constant. We change how we can access the richness of the gospel, we change how we experience and change how we incorporate the gospel into our lives. No longer will the model of a good sermon and a couple of songs work. It worked before – lives were changed, the world was changed and progress was made toward the fulfillment of God’s kingdom on earth. Martin Luther King, Jr. is the perfect example of how wonderfully the gospel worked in the modern era. That man could speak and move mountains! The people listened to his words and their hearts were moved to action. It’s not working any more, though. More and more we need to not only hear the gospel, but to experience. We don’t experience it any more just through our ears and intellect. For truth to speak to us, we must hear it, feel it, taste it, see it, DO IT. We crave to taste and see that the Lord is good. Instead of trying to parse out every tiny piece of God, we need more and more the mystery of God.

*Greg Ogen, The New Reformation: Returning the Ministry to the People of God (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1990) as quoted by Steve Zerbe in his thesis, Integrating a Strategic Worship Advisory Team in the Worshiping Community of Warsaw, Indiana Wesleyan Church (Thesis for the Robert Webber Institute for Worship Studies, 2004, page 112.


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