Monday, July 23, 2012

"The church of time and eternity bearing witness together"

"Contemporary worship not a fix-all" asserts this article. In my opinion it isn't even "contemporary worship" in many churches ineffectually attempting to catch up with whatever is happening now. In the American context attempting to "contextualize" often seems like anchoring worship to yesterday's "now" and becoming immediately "then." As C.S. Lewis once said, "all that is not eternal, is eternally out of date." It might be wiser for worship leaders to attempt to connect worshipers with something less ephemeral — and do it well.
.... About half of Protestant churches in America use electric guitars and drums in worship, up from 35 percent 12 years ago, according to a 2011 study of more than 10,000 churches by Faith Communities Today. That figure approaches 60 percent among evangelical churches generally and among all churches in the South, reported the multi-faith research group associated with the Hartford Institute for Religion Research at Harford (Conn.) Seminary.

But is the assumption — contemporary worship as essential to success — invariably true? Some American churches are saying no and are proving it with vibrant, creative traditional worship. No form of worship is inherently superior, they stress. The key to a healthy church is finding a mode of worship for which each congregation is uniquely equipped and carrying it off with excellence. Done well, traditional worship remains effective, they add. ....

...[E]very church’s challenge is “to give reign to the Spirit of the Living Christ. When we sing the hymns of the church from ages past, when we recite the Psalms and recount the witness of saints of old, we expand our praise to include theirs. We are not just the church of the here and now; we are the church of time and eternity bearing witness together. This gives depth to our worship and joins memory with hope.

“Some people are finding that churches that pay attention to tradition, without being enslaved by it, give them an identity with deep roots,” he added. “They are drawn to what lasts, what has endured the tests of time. Some forms of worship today quickly become irrelevant in their attempted relevance. Traditional worship is both intergenerational and transgenerational. It gives a voice to every generation, including those that have gone before.” .... [more]
Contemporary worship not a fix-all