Sunday, January 30, 2011

A case for weekly shared worship

"Praise in an awe-deficit world", an article by Pastor Peter Marty in The Lutheran magazine makes a strong case for the relevance of a weekly shared worship experience.  He responds an oft heard sentiment "Oh, I can worship God much more meaningfully outdoors than I can stuck indoors with a group of people singing some half ancient song."

He notes that while nature may be the handiwork of God, it doesn't do any of the following:
  • Collect offering to help feed the hungry, clothe the poor or meet the needs of refugees
  • Answer the question of how sinners can be reconciled to God and invested with a hope in Christ
  • Provide forgiveness of sins
He goes on to suggest that worship is a place for people to practice not being God. Pastor Marty referenced the choral conductor Robert Shaw's observation "the absolute minimum conditions for worship are a sense of mystery and an admission of pain."

Without the help of others we tend to make God into our own private image.  When in a worship setting we are joined by a mix of people who don't mirror every facet of our life. This eclectic mix of folks keeps us tuned into the greater diverse community in which we are called to live and share our talents.

While nature is the best place to view God's handiwork, we also benefit by coming together in worship and service.

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