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Why/What we Believe 7

April 6, 2006

Previous Why/ Whats start February 24th.

Why and What we believe about corporate worship.

That was the topic Sunday. I am really glad it was not my week to teach. I honestly don’t know why we do some of the things the way we do them. There are a few that I do know about and will share.

We didn’t get into that garbage about the 5 acts of Worship. Come on who can name them? There’s Scripture Reading, Prayer, Singing, Communion, and the Big Daddy- Preaching. And you also have contribution which is separate and apart even though it obviously isn’t. Funny how many things fit on the fingers of your hand. Unless you are like the guy I worked with in High School, “Three finger Larry”. That’s another blog.

That 5 acts stuff is what I call ‘non-biblical’. It’s neither in there or wrong or right. But I grew up being taught we had to get all 5 in and they couldn’t overlap for some reason. As in, you don’t sing during Communion. Its a rule. Trust me.

Well some things I do know. Like back in the times that often are called the dark ages the catholic church met in crusiform buildings. That is back in the Flying buttress days. You can check out those links if you need to. The worship / Mass occurred with the lay people standing not where we now have pews but along the side aisles. Maybe three or four people deep. So your view was obscured by the columns and people. This helped with the mystery which was important. Later the focused changed from priests walking up and down nave to people sitting there in pews. The alter became the focus, the stage. So today for the most part we still sit in buildings and face the rostrum (stage). Big exception are the Quaker churches “meeting houses”.

Some traditions have an alter call. I grew up with the “invitation” which was always open but we always had to have a formal one that has to be accompanied with an “invitation song”. Those are found in the 900’s in the song book. This is an American tradition that started with the Moody campaigns. Some will tell you that Acts chapter 2 must have had one, how else would those people have known what to do.

We talked about the centrality of Communion this past Sunday. I feel more and more that a service that is without it seems to leave me missing something. Keith my fellow teacher said that to him the more interesting question is not should you take it every Sunday but can you take it more often. I agree. And for the record I think you can.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. April 6, 2006 12:47 pm

    I think I “freaked out” our new youth minister by suggesting that we have communion during our “Senior Sunday Night” that honors our graduating seniors….

    maybe someday….

  2. April 6, 2006 1:36 pm

    Our tribe did not develope its theology in a vacuum. Though some act like we have “arrived” and we did it alone by nothing more than “Speaking Where The Bible Speaks,,,etc”, much of our tradition was inherited. Baconianism (After France Bacon), and John Knox with their scientific arguments led us to the five finger illustrations we know today.

    T.S. Eliot said, “The Church must be forever building, and always decaying, and always being restored….But here upon earth you have the reward of the good and ill that was done by those who have gone before you. And all that was ill you may repair if you walk together in humble repentance…; And all that was good you must fight to keep with hearts as devoted as those of your fathers who fought to gain it. The Church must be forever building, for it is forever decaying from within and attacked from without.” “The Complete Poems and Plays, 1909-1950 by T.S. Eliot Page 101

  3. April 6, 2006 1:41 pm

    You always come through with a great quote. We certainly inherited a lot from those Enlightenment guys.

  4. April 6, 2006 7:50 pm

    I didn’t know scripture reading was one of the big 5… we always said “giving”. I can’t believe y’all left out money! Giving is separate and apart from communion, you know.

  5. April 6, 2006 10:02 pm

    I think we should say “separate and apart” between each act.

    Separate and apart from the announcements is the first song.

    Separate and apart from the previous song is the upcoming prayer.

    Separate and apart from the common sense is the accepted wisdom. gulp.

  6. April 7, 2006 12:19 pm

    I’ve been reading you, Tommy, just too busy and stressed to be able to write any intelligent sounding and/or thoughtful comments.

    This one with your links has drawn me to Wikipedia to the pictures and information about these wondrous cathedrals and abbeys and centuries old buildings of worship. I’ve just been rather quickly reading through and following the linked pictures of examples of each architectural word and I love this stuff! I’m wishing I could sit here the rest of the afternoon and browse through all these things to my heart’s content.

    What would be even more fabulous and interesting to me would be to sit here doing this and/or looking at some neat books and/or going to some terrific sites together with you because I know you have much more intimate knowledge about all of these things than I do, but I find it most intriguing and would like to learn a lot more.

    It harks back to your question to me of where I would most like to go and my answer. I would love to start in Greece and go all across Europe seeing all of these great cathedrals, see all kinds of different “houses” of worship and the ancient, great majestic buildings people built in reverance to God.

    I can understand why people have the need to do such things and to build such awe inspiring structures. I truly can. They inspire awe in me, as well.

    What I find even more awe inspiring is that this mighty God of Heavens and earth and the vast universe we live in has chosen to build HIS tabernacle within each and every one of US, His children.

    That is something that is beyond comprehension to me. It really is. Yet I know it to be so and have experienced His presence here in my heart, soul and mind. He dwells here in me. I am HIS place He comes to share with me, as I go to Him.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about you, Tommy, the past few days. We need to talk very soon.

    I was just telling some people about you and your dear friends yesterday and how you so willingly and lovingly came to help us here. The lady sitting here at my table with me said quite tentatively, “I wish I knew some Christians who would come help me with my house (her house had three feet of water in it). How did you find them? And how did you get them to come help you like you did?”

    I tried to explain as best I could. It’s God’s love in our hearts as Christians that compells us to good works and service to others. That kind of love is hard for others to understand, sometimes, because it seems to be so rare.

    I suppose it is in this world, but I’m glad I’m a part of it and thank God every day for His blessings.

    I might call you later, Tommy, if you are going to be around.


    Thanks for this post. Dee

  7. April 7, 2006 5:44 pm

    I’ll echo what TCS said about Lee coming through with a great quote… That one is a keeper!

    Isn’t it interesting that all of these lists and uncovered patterns in the Bible that were devised to simplify things are the very things that give us the most complications today! They’re the hurdles we’re having to get over in order to get to GOD!

    Tommy LISTEN TO THAT RICK ATCHLEY CD ON DIVISION ASAP! He touches on some things from your post today too!

    BTW… some of the most meaningful communion times I’ve shared have been outside the church building walls! 😉

  8. April 8, 2006 11:33 pm

    I forget, are you in a CoC now?

    You blog entries about the culture of that denom (I know, I know, it’s NOT a denomination) really crack me up.


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