Monthly Archives: March 2012

  • Introduction to Christian Worship – Occasional Services

    White’s last chapter takes up the topic of occasional services. He notes, “The mountain peaks and valleys of life are occasions for Christian worship just as surely as the flat plains of day-by-day living are.” Historically these have included: marriage (for most), ordination (for some), religions commissioning (for some), and death (for all). Of these let us consider the service of marriage. Marriage is one service where we need to spend more time asking the hard why we do what we do (WWDWWD) questions. White gets to the interesting intersection of the secular and sacred in the marriage service.

    There are few, if any, occasions more joyful than a wedding. Yet the church’s approach to weddings has been a slow and cautious one, always willing to leave most of the festivities outside the church door. Even now the wedding … Read More »

  • Introduction to Worship – The Eucharist

    Even for Paul there was mystery in the Christian faith, especially when it came to the work of Christ on behalf of his church. Speaking in the content of marriage he would say, this mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church (Eph. 5:32). The preface to his summary of the rudimentary facts of Christ’s life, death, resurrection and ascension reads like this: Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness (1 Tim. 3:16). Christianity is not in opposition to a healthy and vigorous life of the mind; nor is it in opposition to mystery. It is opposed to stupidity and ignorance on the one hand and to rationalism on the other. When we come to the topic of the Eucharist we come to a topic of great mystery. Perhaps this is … Read More »

  • Introduction to Christian Worship – Part 9 – Christian Initiation

    [callout_rightGod initiates his people into his church and into relationship with him through rites, ordinances, and sacraments.[/callout_right]Whatever the group, initiation into it requires going through some agreed upon and meaningful rituals. The reason for this is – whether secular or sacred – human beings are liturgical animals and thus cannot escape liturgical practice. Historically entrance into the church has also involved the observation of initiatory practices and rites.

     No one is born a Christian. One becomes a Christian through becoming part of a community with a distinctive way of life involving definite ethical and creedal commitments. This change in our being is marked by sacraments that proclaim what God is doing to bring us to faith (White, 203).

    For example, Christian initiation usually includes some or all of these: catechesis, baptism, confirmation, chrismation, public profession, and first communion. Observance … Read More »