William Law, an Anglican priest in the 1700s, came up with a worship order that make sense to me. Not only that, but it allows the pastor to have a considerable amount of freedom in putting a service together. As I said in yesterday’s post, elements of the three main worship styles (traditional, contemporary, and liturgical) can be incorporated into the service. The worship service has four movements: Preparing to hear God, Hearing God, Responding to God, and Being sent out to do God’s work.
First we prepare ourselves to meet and hear God. This is done through music, and both traditional hymns and contemporary songs can be used. Reading Scriptures, responsive readings, readers’ theater, communal prayer, and drama can also be incorporated here. Through singing, reading, and hearing, we prepare ourselves to hear God’s word. The next movement is the sermon. After the sermon, we respond to what we heard and God’s grace through passing the peace, the offering, and communion. Responsive readings, communal prayers, and drama can also be added here. We are then sent out to be God’s ambassadors to the world. There are many modes of worship in this service: singing, reading, listening, communal, and sacramental. It doesn’t revolve around only two forms of worship–singing and the sermon–the way traditional and contemporary services normally are. It also does not have to be as formal as liturgical services can be. The Scriptures for the week can be the lectionary passages or passages the pastor chooses. There is a lot of flexibility in this approach to worship.
Now that you know my preferences for worship, the next posts will be on my experiences with churches I have already attended here.
The picture is “The Supper at Emmaus” by He Qi. You can see more of his work at his gallery.
W Is for Worship