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June 13, 2009

RLP‘s been visiting various churches while on sabbatical.  Last couple Sundays it’s been to an Eastern Orthodox Church.  He describes his experience as wonderful.  Great quote regarding the nature of worship, etc. from his latest post about his visits.

I would guess that is a tension Saint Joseph Orthodox Church must live with. If you make beauty and the perfect execution of your symbolic worship your highest goal, you run the risk of setting the Sabbath above humanity, which Christ taught us not to do. On the other hand, if you allow your church to become so user-friendly and comfortable that anyone feels at home, you have lost the distinctive nature of the Church.

I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer to this, as long as the Church is asking the question and living in that tension.

I think he’s right.  I think for too long we have sought to make a church service comfortable (I’m not talking seeker-sensitive, I’m just talking comfortable) for all involved.  I think this is a well-intentioned mistake.  I don’t think a church service should be the (read: only) appealing part of our faith.  I think it is the faith itself and the reality of it lived out in a certain way that should be the mystery and draw to following Jesus.  A church service should be something one is brought into, ultimately a mysterious worship of a loving Creator Deity who is three persons yet unified, self-sacrficing, yet receptive of Glory which only He is due.  If corporate worship of this God is easy and comfortable, then what are we doing?

What say you?

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 16, 2009 12:12 pm

    I gotta think about this… Really.

    Comfort and accessibility. I think we can run the risk of having elements of worship that are so inaccessible that the worshipers can’t engage in the moment. I’m thinking of worship songs that are rather hard to sing, whether keyed to high, or the span of notes is too broad, or the movement of the melody is too complex. yes, this may be a more exquisite expression of worship, but if the worshipers aren’t able to worship, then is it worship?

    Same goes for sermons packed with language that is highly academic. I’m not opposed to academic thoughts, but things can be said using today’s everyday language, so the everyday man can grasp it’s meaning.

    I think there should be a mix. I think we should find ways to allow everyone to express their hearts to God. But, at the same time, find ways to challenge – push ahead – raise the bar. This is what it means to develop disciples. Move them forward. Shepherd & lead.

    I think the balance lies in making sure that the leaders of the worship service haven’t moved so far ahead of the pack that the church attender can no longer follow…

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