2Public Worship – What do we mean? Some commonalities:Community involvementInteraction with GodMusic (Corporate sound and/or voice)Word (“Scripture” + Reflection)Cultic response/act (baptism, Lord’s Supper)SacrificeExperience of God togetherCollect a list of thoughts.Note some similarities of direction image – prayer, ritual, cultic practice, sacrifice.Interaction: Prayer, intercession, thanksgiving, praise – expectation that it is heard. Wheel prayers of Buddhists, chants, claps or bell rings of Shintoists.Music Also DANCE: First Nations drums, Jewish Canting, Buddhist horns, Islamic calls to prayer. Sometimes dance is included – formal or informal.Word: Reading/ Singing Scripture, telling the stories of “our” people. Often not always some kind of reflection about it.Cultic Response: baptism, Eucharist, Posture Muslim kneel to prostrate to sitting up, passing the peace.Sacrifice: Among the oldest forms. Letting go of something now to add power to my petition. Other value: support of poor, self transformation.Experience of God: Speaking in tongues, appearance of Vo-dou spirit, prophetic word.
3Focus on Christian Worship - Heritage Where did Public worship start?Jewish experience – sacrifices in the temple. Synagogues (Babylonian exile)Acts The first 120 learning from the Apostles, breaking of the bread, meeting in homes. Seeing to the needs of the poor. (check also Acts ; )Paul’s letters to churches 1 Corinthians 11.Letters in Revelation to 7 churches – communities gather to worship and minister
4Heritage Grows Evolution of fixed forms begins very early Pliny the Younger in 110 CE:Meet before dawnSing a hymn to Christ as GodSwear an oath against Theft and Adultery.Justin Martyr in about 155 CEMemoirs of Apostles words of prophets are readPresider makes a speechAll stand for common prayersThe Kiss of Peace is shared along with wine and waterPortions sent to those absentBy 250 much more formalised
5Hebrews 10. 25 – keep on meeting together Hebrews – keep on meeting together! The form only opens the possibilities
8How to connect with God through what we have. We can all go where we want – this is not a lesson in how to critique what we have!How we can experience God’s presence amid the public worship where we find ourselves?
9What frames our worship? TimeSpaceGod’s action in history not timeless truthsLiturgical times & seasons:Sabbath, holy days, seasonsThe day of worship – how is time organised?Related: How are we all dressed?We can worship anywhere but we always worship somewhere.How is our space built?What do we change & how often?How are people arranged?What appears in our space?
10Look again at this sanctuary. It’s use of time and space What is steadfast? What is movable?What symbols are present? – what message do they convey?Where is the focus for our attention?How have the worshipers wrestled with space?Other observations?Think about your own worship space.
11Elements of Our Worship If you brought an outline of your worship service look at it now. Check the elements as we go.Prayer (see below)CelebrationConfession and RenewalPraiseThanksgivingLearning (hearing/reading scripture & teaching)Fellowship (Intercession and Greeting)Mission (Offering, Notices, Intercession)
12So what about now?“[We] have therefore due occasion for worry over any decline in church attendance, for though religion does not consist solely of public worship, it does not survive long without some cult.The new wine of modern thought has burst the old bottles of organized religion, but the need is for new bottles, not for no bottles. The old forms of worship, the ancient rituals, are failing to satisfy modern needs.Public worship is ceasing to be attended not because public worship has become unnecessary but because the particular kinds of public worship which the churches offer are unattractive, inappropriate, and unsatisfying.”Keith Drury and James White both write about the need for change in worship.
13Christian Public Worship By T.L. HarrisPublished – 1928!The issue of finding meaning in our public worship is not new!So what do we do?
14Making the most of the experience Centre yourself during the prelude/opening music – ask God to be with you/show you something – expect it.Use as many senses as possibleNotice those around you – a word of encouragement, a smile.Pray over the announcements & ask God if there is a way you can be involved?Sing Lustily – unto God ……who rejoices in the voices God created!
15Making still more of the experience Look and contemplate the décor (or lack of it).Enter the silences.Take notes during the sermon.Visualise what/who is being prayed for.Don’t always read the prayers aloud. Let the words wash over you as others read (same for praise choruses, repeated litanies)During the postlude, reflect on what you have experienced or learned.
16Group discussion – 10 minWhat helps me to connect with God in my worship experience?What in my worship context do I struggle with?Can I gain some insight from other members of the group?Reconvene – any burning need to share?
17For Next Time! Next Gathering – 21 October! Happy Thanksgiving! Attend worship this Sunday (or other day) mindful of what we have discussed – attend to what God reveals.Next Time: Faith and my private disciplinesWhat have I done in my personal life to aid my spiritual growth/walk with God?See ya!