Friday, March 24, 2006

Emerging Worship is about Who Gets to Play

bolgblog has this interesting post on emerging worship.
I remarked recently that I had attended a near lifeless traditional church. More recently, I attended a traditional service that was filled with life. What was the difference? It really came down to who got to play and who didn't.

... new forms of worship do not equate to candles and coffee, videos and tables, stations and art. Rather, it is about access and inclusion. Who was invited and empowered to create and participate in worship? Was worship from the people or from the experts? Was the door open for any to come and share in the worship planning and execution? Did the worship itself invite a bodily encounter between a person and God, thus facilitating an engaged form of worship? Was there a deep sense that this is the people's worship and represents our collective offering to God? Was worship from us, the average Jane and Joe in the congregation, or was it from the priests performing rites for us, to us, but not with us?

These are the primary contributions of Emerging Church worship, but that is not to say that it hasn't existed in other movements and at other times. But I would say it is more explicit here than I have observed in other movements in the recent past.

I received joy and a deep sense of communal worship at that traditional service, as I witnessed young and old, men and women, representing various cultures and traditions, offering themselves up to God, in ways that made sense in their worlds. For me, it doesn't get much better than this...

Many of us have said things like...
"God is the audience, we are the choir" and
"Worship is not a spectator sport"

But do we really understand, apply and live the reality of the priesthood of all believers, & that really, there is no male or female, Jew or Greek, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

Do we really understand worship. I think too many "evangelical" churches are locked into a model of worship that is a little stale: & I'm not talking about the songs - we can stale with the Wesleys or stale with 3rd Day

God shows up when our hearts are open and hungry for God regardless of where we find ourselves.

One of the challenges of the evangelical church, which is still fighting worship song wars is to enter into a deeper understanding of and experience of the fullness of the triune God: Father, Son, Spirit. & we need to do in the context of community - isn't that at the core of understanding the trinity?

As someone has said... we need a "more inclusive, less dichotomistic approach seems life breathing, to the "official leaders" as their roles seem less "official" and to the "lay members" as they get to do more than "lay" around."

At the same time, we lead leadership that will gently, but firmly lead our congregations into new territories: some will find that (for example) an Ash Wednesday or Maundy Thursday event will be seen as too liturgical.


The Righteousness of God said...

I have found worship takes many forms. It is a mystery. I have experienced a setting where worship was suppose to be happening - but it seemed empty and very insignificant.

I think 'unity' is key. It is indeed a love dance, a celebration, between a Triune Creator and his corporate creation (us not just me). All are involved. Image that comes to mind are the endless waves (of love) that would lap up onto a shoreline with regular frequency, ease and sense of peacefulness forever.

Obstacles that hinder the creation's ability to worship: most don't know who they are in Christ; failure to realize that God lives amongst His people (now) daily in the trenches of life (so toss the OT understanding that we are going to meet God in the big temple and hopefully we will have audience).

Joel Cominsky is on track: It is a party; a celebration; delighting in our robes of righteousness and garments of salvation.

Worship is beginning celebrating the eternal now. I believe God the Father wants to dance embraced WITH his creation as much more than having his creation dance FOR Him.

God is indeed a mystery - I just enjoy the day. I Celebrate that He is living his life in me as me. Sorry about your luck. spoken, in collective corporate love, the RoG

Scott said...

Interesting post. Sometimes I worry with the worship band phenomena that worship becomes too much of a spectator sport, where we can get to distracted with getting entertained that we forget what it is we're really trying to do. Obviously a skilled and gifted worship leader can be helpful at directing attention in the proper direction.

Personally I like the idea of everyone just showing up with their instrument, whether it be there voice, a tamborine, Kazoo, or a nice set of spoons and joining in praising God.