Monday, April 29, 2024

Not about how I feel

Carl Greene is Executive Director of the Seventh Day Baptist General Conference. In the current Sabbath Recorder, he writes "Sabbath Liturgy is Not All About Me":
Liturgy is not a word that we drop in our Seventh Day Baptist circles very often. Even less often do we use the word as a positive descriptor of ourselves. We prefer to say that we are non-liturgical and simply use an order of service for gathered worship. We tend to see the label of liturgical as representative of worship that has become routine to the point of mindless repetition.

I will confess. I like the word liturgy. I am out to convince you that liturgy is a lovable word.

Liturgy is derived from the Greek work leitourgia. It gets better. Two words are contained within liturgy: people (laos) and work (ergon). Hence, leitourgia is literally a "work of the people."' Liturgy is not some stodgy approach to worship—it is the intentional way that we worship together as a body. What I like about using the word "liturgy" is that it keeps us focused on Biblical worship rather than attractional worship.

Our only metric for assessing worship can all too easily be reduced to an assessment of if people like it. This constitutes seeing worship mainly as an attraction to get people through the doors of a church building. One way we do this is by directly demanding our worship personal style preferences—because any normal person will agree with my worship preferences. That usually does not end well.

We can also be indirect in communicating our worship wants. We refer to the wants of people who do not attend worship (yet) but we are confident will come to worship if we make some strategic changes. It just so happens that the worship preferences of the currently-not-attending are the same preferences as mine. I do not even have to ask them. ....

...[O]ur practice of liturgical worship is not so much focused on how I feel or what I want but focused on our great God. ....

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