For the last few weeks public worship has been very much on my mind. As a minister responsible for leading worship every Sunday it is good to take time occasionally to think about the meaning and practice of worship.
If we were to widen the reflective circle and have a public discussion about the experience of worship, what would we be talking about? As I was sharing with some members of the Mission & Discipleship Council during last week’s Conference, a discussion on what we want, we like or dislike in worship is bound to get stuck, unless we are able to go beyond these issues.
Preferences are important, and we should discuss them, but there is a danger in setting any discussion on these terms alone, lest we end up fostering consumerism. A long discussion about what kind of music we like, or what kind of structure we like is likely to run into difficulties. The symptoms of such a narrow perspective is reflected in what people sometimes say about worship: “I didn’t get anything out of worship today”, “I didn’t like that hymn”, or a more positive “The minister did well today.” These reflections are more reflections of consumers than participants. Continue reading