Thursday, October 30, 2008

It isn't about you

Every kind and variety of Christian worship seems to develop patterns and traditional forms and every one runs the risk of becoming dry and repetitive and losing its proper focus. Trevin Wax reviews a new book that argues for liturgy as the best way to provide order and direction in worship:
It’s probably not a good idea for me to read too many books like Mark Galli’s Beyond Smells & Bells: The Wonder and Power of Christian Liturgy. (Paraclete, 2008).

After all, I have long desired a closer following of the church calendar. I have written of my love for more liturgical forms of worship. ....

Galli doesn’t try to make a biblical case for high-church. Trying to prove from the Bible that churches should adopt a liturgical worship service is nearly impossible. Instead, he wisely goes in the direction of common sense. Take for instance his view of the church calendar: this “cosmic daytimer” forms the way we look at time and challenges the other calendars that we live by (including sports!).

What I find most refreshing in liturgy is the way in which “liturgy puts a break on narcissism.” Galli says, “From the beginning, you realize that this service isn’t about you.” The fact that liturgy is not seeker friendly tells us something about the transcendence of God. ....

After reading this book, I realize that I am not so attracted to certain forms of liturgy, but to the rhythms of worship that flow through a liturgical worship service.

Let there be freedom and movement in worship. At the same time, let us be thoughtful about our worship. [more]
Book Review: Beyond Smells and Bells

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