Sunday, 18 July 2010

Still more on repetition

The following is from another blog on the subject of repetition (click here for the website)

"I’ve developed a preference for liturgical worship, a far cry from my ‘rock-concert’ evangelical beginnings. But nobody seems to understand why. Well, there are reasons I left the rock concert, and there are reasons I stayed in the liturgy. These are the reasons I stayed:

The bible is read all the time, and shows up in every part of worship. Sermons are short, so even if they’re terrible, there’s plenty of solid teaching in just the prayers and readings. And the lectionary is set so that the scriptures are central. Speakers can’t focus on whatever they want; they focus on Jesus.

Reading a script as if the entire worship is a complex, worshipful dramatic production. Non-liturgical Christians often seem to believe that saying the same thing every week, and saying it together is stifling, dry or somehow sinful. But how is it any different from the songs you sing in the rock concert every week? And reading scripted creeds, confessions and prayer responses together eliminates any ego in the equation. Every Christian is equal, we are announcing our faith, confessing our sings, talking to and worshipping God in true unity.

I said true unity. Every worshipper isn’t doing whatever they want to do. We worship in unity, with all free to worship God free from the effects of the human ego. In the rock concert church, attention-seekers really get into it, distractions are the norm, and anyone who doesn’t jump/clap/dance for the Lord is bombed with guilt. The church is worshiping in unity, free from ego, in an ordered and disciplined, biblical and orthodox fashion.
Liturgy feels no need to be like the world, unlike the rock concert. It isn’t hip. It isn’t seeker-friendly. It’s not adapting the world to God’s uses. It has no worldly equivalent – it is Christ’s alone.

Everything outside of the sermon is scripted. I just want to hear the bible, encouragement and prayers that don’t drag on with repetitions. I am tired of hearing preachers constantly talk, tired of humorous comments and unnecessary asides designed to fill the hour. I don’t want to hear tongues unless it’s interpreted. In the liturgy, every word is weighted with meaning. Every thing you say or hear has value, is an act of worship. Language is sanctified for worship in liturgy, where contemporary services often conform to the world’s use of language.

I’m told that liturgy is stale, stifling, that repetition yields faithless zombies, that the lack of freedom in worship indicates that there is no worship at all. Worship isn’t just singing, it’s anything you do that glorifies God. Writing here, is worship. Reading your bible, or a book about theology, talking to someone, thinking about the Lord, doing well in your chosen area of study, creating something beautiful, are all acts of worship. I’m sure there are plenty of ‘faithless zombies’ simply turning up to the rock concert because they always have, tuning out in sermons and worshipping without heart. And as for ‘a lack of freedom’ – since when was doing whatever you wanted an act of worship?

Liturgy certainly isn’t the only form of worship, but I believe it’s one that is Christ-focused and pure, which is more than I can say for my life-long experience of the rock concert.

I am Damian Caruana, and I love liturgy."

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