Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"I am not accustomed...."

Trevin Wax, a Baptist, has been reporting on his attendance at a Catholic mass. Today, he reflects on what he thought positive and negative about what he experienced. One of the positive aspects:
The Scripture readings formed the high point of the service for me. I am not accustomed to hearing so much Scripture read aloud in church. The first man read a passage from Isaiah which foreshadowed the sufferings of Christ.

The second person to read was an elderly woman. She read from Philippians 2, about Christ humbling himself and then being raised and exalted by God. A woman sang a spine-tingling rendition of Psalm 22, complete with repetitive “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” lines.

Finally, we read the entire Passion narrative from Mark’s Gospel, beginning with Mark 14 and continuing all the way to Christ’s burial at the end of Mark 15. A man to the right of the stage read the narration, the priest said the words of Jesus, the woman to the left of the stage read the other voices in the narrative, and whenever the crowd in the passage spoke, so did the entire audience. This was a creative way to read the Passion narrative. I felt as if I were there, in the crowd, shouting “crucify him” and “come down from the cross.”
And from one of the comments:
It is my impression that we in evangelical circles treat the Word of God as if it cannot stand on it’s own - it must be expounded in order to be useful. We would deny that but we arrange our services as if it’s true. I am thankful for the preached and taught Word, but there is also a vital place for the Word being read and sung. This is one thing that we can and should learn from the Catholics.
It could also be learned from Anglicans, Lutherans, and many others. In my lifetime the use of Scripture in Baptist worship has actually diminished. Responsive and unison readings have disappeared from the service. There is something wrong when we quite properly elevate the importance and authority of Scripture, but at the same time it increasingly disappears from public worship.

Visiting a Catholic Church 2 « Kingdom People
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