Sunday, May 15, 2011
Today, during our Sunday Church Service, I realized once again why worshipping regularly is important to maintaining spiritual fitness. I didn’t always feel this way.
There was a time when going to church was more or less another entertainment opportunity – great music, good singing, some random Scripture verses and an engaging sermon. I really like thought-provoking sermons.
The difficulty for me, however, was that no matter how great the music or the sermon, the effect lasted only until about Tuesday night, or maybe even Wednesday. The rest of the week was downhill in a spiritual sense.
All of this has changed in recent years since my wife and I started attending a Lutheran Church – one which has tried and true hymns of the faith, lots of participatory recitation, and – gasp – liturgy. I had been raised to think of liturgy as a form of “vain repetitions.” I have discovered that liturgy (at least in the Lutheran venue) is anything but that.
Simply, I have come to understand liturgy as a prescribed set of components for worship. I find that our liturgy organizes and guides us through the important aspects of a full worship experience. Much of it goes back to early church practices, and various forms of liturgy are practiced around the world in Christendom. Almost all of our liturgy is taken directly from the Scriptures.
Of course different churches and different denominations vary in the practice of liturgy in worship, but most contain some or all of the following elements:
● Confession and forgiveness – via prayers and silent moments
● Praise – recited (using actual Scriptures) or sung as music
● Scripture Lessons – selected readings from the Old Testament, New Testament, the Gospels or the Psalms
● Prayers – thanks, adoration, petition, on behalf of others, or for our own spiritual journey
● Sermon – usually an amplification of, or related to the Scripture Lessons
● Creeds – corporate recitation and endorsement of our ancient creeds of faith, such as the Apostle’s Creed
● Offering – giving back to God for His use, from the abundance He has given us
● Sacrament of Holy Communion – A celebration of reverence, adoration, forgiveness, joy and thanksgiving where God works in us and we are empowered to “go in peace to love and serve the Lord.” It is one of the oldest and least-changed elements of the Liturgy. For me, it is the “power source” of my faith. The image above, btw, is Da Vinci’s “Last Supper”
● Benediction – we are sent out to live out the Gospel in word and deed in a world of need
Week after week, as these rudiments of worship are observed and practiced, the Gospel comes alive within us and we are sustained as active and viable followers of Christ. Thanks be to God.
Friday, May 13, 2011
Our granddaughter Talli, a high school junior (and pictured at right, above), will go to the State Track Meet of Oregon a week from today in Eugene to run the 3,000 meters. This is a remarkable accomplishment for her as last Fall she qualified for the State Cross Country meet as well.
The girls varsity team at her school, Newberg High, won the District Track meet yesterday in McMinnville, where Talli came in second in the 3,000, making her eligible for the State Meet. Her time was 11:09, a scant 10 seconds or so off of her personal best.
Of course, as proud grandparents, we offer her our sincere congratulations and wish her the best next week. Wish we could be there to see her run, but we’ll enjoy the pics I’m sure her dad will take at the meet.