Tuesday, March 15, 2005

"the greatest of these is worship."

It may not have escaped the notice of astute readers that, with all my reading of "Repitching the Tent" and excursions to study "Creating Uncommon Worship", I'm in the business of looking long and hard at the way we do things here...Just before I arrived, the parish had undertaken an audit called "The Way Ahead" and much of our time and energy is currently taken up with translating the hopes, fears and longings that emerged from this into some sort of workable picture of the church in this place, that may carry us through the next few years and even help us to engage with the vast mass of unchurched around us.
Currently, I would say that our worship is rather angst-ridden, with a huge concern that we should "get things right", which too often intrudes and prevents us from connecting with God. So, it did me huge good to read this post from someone who is exploring the same sorts of concerns in a rather different context, on the other side of the pond. He quotes Tom Wright's adaptation of 1 Cor 13, where "love" becomes "worship"..and the results of this substitution definitely bear consideration.
" So now our tasks are worship, mission, and management, these three; but the greatest of these is worship"
Go read the passage in full: it really is worth it....


Richard Passmore said...

I was interested in the notion of angst and wondered if the tension was linked to a discussion we have been having around worship. Particularly this comment we had about balance “As far as I can see worship is the sacrifice of our lives. I think that corporate singing can be a part of that, but I worry that we have become unbalanced and don't:
1) Do all the other stuff that we should do when we meet.
2) Do all the other worship the rest of our lives.”

Kathryn said...

Wish the angst here were anything like as wholesome and/or educated. The vicar (who has only been in post 18 months) and I have a really uphill struggle convincing people that God isn't holding up Eurovision score cards, in judgement on the perfection of the liturgy..and for the most part people are so worried about where or whether they genuflect that they fail to engage with the One to whom they are bowing the knee. I long to throw the whole thing out and start again, after several months of just trying to get them to believe themselves loved by God. Hey ho...Better get on with planning the Easter liturgy!

DaveF said...

I think mistakes from the front can relax a congregation. That's probably why my vestry prayers aren't always that welcome ;-)

Mary said...

I absolutely agree that the worry about what to do can distract from what is being done and why. Our recent training weekend which included a 24 hour cycle of the Benedictine Office was in many ways wonderful but required intense concentration on doing during the (many) psalms: each said antiphonally, with the pause at the colon in each verse, and with standing, bowing then straightening OR sitting (probably not at random but....)during the Gloria. We were then read, at breakfast, the chaper of the Rule that deals with the punishment for mistakes in saying psalms, and concluded that fortunately there wasn't enough room in the chapel for all of us to prostrate ourselves for long enough. That said, and in fairness, as we got into the rhythm we did begin to have our minds freed for worship - but only because it was such an intensive experience. All a serious contrast to my own church where after a particularly busy service it's not unknown for the final hymn to have to be stopped while a forgotten item (the offertory, or the mothers' day flowers...) is caught up with... and nobody seems to mind! This may have something to do with London congregations, many of whose members choose the church for its atmosphere and tradition and not its location or because they have always been there. But of course it makes for a more transient population, which brings its own problems.