Thoughts from My Studies
February 13, 2014By Larry Heath

For the last 20 years, I have been deeply influenced by the liturgical renewal movement and the writings and Renew Your Worship seminars of Robert Webber.  While these topics are not "uncharted waters," my studies at IWS havebrought clarity and a deeper level of understanding to these strands of worship renewal.  DWS 702 challenged my thinking in several areas.

First of all, Webber’s writing in Who Gets to Narrate the World is compelling not only in its clarity of contrast between the story of Christianity and radical Islam, but also his assessment of the diminished voice of the Christian church of the Western world.  His call for the church to remember and believe the Christian narrative leads powerfully into the 702 discussions of the nature and "doing" of worship.  Here the ideas that worship is already happening, that our challenge is to understand and join that worship, of dislocation and relocation, and the authenticity of convergence worship have presented implications for our own worship planning.

The second challenge is a renewed commitment to the use of scripture in worship, allowing it to shape the liturgy.  This emphasis on using scripture to allow God’s story to speak for itself holds profound possibilities for our worship at RRPC.  We have dabbled with biblical story telling, tableau, and dramatic reading, but have not been intentional in using these genres of scripture presentation on any regular basis.  The compelling reasons of using them include both the presentations themselves, and the engaging dimension for the presenters as they interact with the texts while preparing the presentation.

Finally, for this post, I am embracing the term "convergence worship."  Through the readings and class discussion, I realize this gives us a new paradigm to consider the fusion of historical concepts with contemporary expressions of faith in our worship.  I clearly have more reading to do here, but I anticipate new insights will inform our worship planning in the days ahead.

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