June 03, 2013

What's So Great About the Past? Nothing. It may surprise you, but I don’t think all churches should “go liturgical.” That's missing the point. Too often, discussion on worship gets framed as a "style" or "preference" issue: Some people like ancient; others like modern. Some like organs and choirs; others sense God's presence with drums and electric guitars, peopel say. But in this view, corporate worship, in so far as it relates to us, is about expression. Choose the expression that works for you. For others, it's about what will "reach the people we want to reach." This isn’t about tailoring an approach to your “demographic” or “target audience.” Our obsession with missiology has made even Sunday worship about mission. Both these approaches miss a crucial point: Corporate worship is the gathered witness in the world to the Gospel and the glory of God in Christ Jesus. When it comes to decsions about the particulars and how it relates to us, we ought not think first about expression or even mission but formation. [For the academic philosophical and theological underpinnings of this claim, this interview with Calvin College philosopher James K. A. Smith is GOLD.] So, now to the question again: What's so great about the past? Lots. There is a lot to learn from the way the Church has worshipped throughout the centuries. The Church has always believed that the way you worship becomes the way you believe. For Christians, what we have believed, we have received. But there's another reason the past matters... C. S. Lewis wrote in essay on the necessity of reading old books on the reason to study the past: We need intimate knowledge of the past. Not that the past has any magic about it, but because we cannot study the future, and yet need something to set against the...

Glenn Packiam

Lead Pastor, new life DOWNTOWN, New Life Church, Colorado Springs, CO. Author and songwriter.

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