Tag Archive: Reading

Worship – Feels like Family

I read this article and found myself having mixed feelings.  It gave some pointers on worship practices that should be avoided.

1. Passing the microphone around at prayer time for prayer concerns.
2. Passing of the Peace or greeting one another.
3. In-house business is taken care of as part of worship, usually masquerading as announcements.
4. Persons leading worship are untrained and/or not gifted for the task they are given.
5. The use of family shorthand and church talk in bulletins, preaching, and liturgy.

It is not fair to just read my thoughts and reflections on it without reading the whole article so be sure and check it out here.

#1 Messes with me because we have intentionally made praying for each other a part of this new Community Worship service , and it has been a key part of our 11 o’clock Sunday service for a long time. There are some new faces that have joined the church this past year that mentioned this focus on prayer being one of the things that attracted them to St. Paul.

#3 I have struggled with announcements and “in-house business” even way back working at Trinity.

#5 This one I work on and try to be aware of, but now that I have been doing this for two years I wonder if I say things and do things that really is using “insider code language” and not even realize it.

The questions to reflect on at the end of the article I thought were great:

Take a long look at your service of worship. How do visitors experience it? Look at it from the point of view of a 15 year old, or someone new to our country, or someone who has never stepped foot in a church before. Look at it through the eyes of one struggling with addiction, going through a divorce, or facing depression.

What do you think?

I am excited about tomorrow morning. I have been experimenting with using Common Prayer (you probably have seen a couple blog posts inspired by this practice). I have mostly been doing this by myself. I have been reading with a group of friends through the first couple of chapters of Acts and there is very much a theme of “togetherness” and I feel pretty convicted about this practice of prayer needing to be apart of a community.

During the school year I have tried going to Morning Prayer using The Book of Common Prayer at least once a week with my buddy Kyle and 20+ fellow students and professors. I have had some great moments where I had felt like I had taken a holy bath in scripture and prayer. I have loved the rhythm it creates. I have thought about how this is something similar to what John Wesley would have been participating in. It excites me to share this with others, and my hope is for a community of people shaped by prayer and the scripture to form around this common experience. My hope is that as we encounter God in this practice that we will be transformed into who God has called to be as a community of faith.

I invite you to join me for Prayer at 7:00 – 7:30am at St. Paul UMC (coffee will be ready at 6:45am). We will be using Common Prayer A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals. You can either bring your own book, or I will also have it on the screen. We will meet in the Sacred Grounds Coffeehouse every Tuesday and Thursday at this time. I hope to see you there.

God, you are present in our joys and in our sorrows. Help us expect to live lives that mirror the suffering and joy of Christ our Savior. No disciple is above her master. Amen. (prayer from today)


What’s good about Old?

Moses Exodus 1295779_44452649Well, in the last 2-3 weeks I have heard a great deal of reminders that I am not a teenager as I have been walking around with a torn achilles tendon. I have also spent a good deal of time reading the Emmaus story from Luke 24 during these past few weeks. Jesus is incognito talking with a couple of disciples on the road. When Jesus chose to describe himself he uses the Old Testament. Jesus reviews Moses, the prophets and the scriptures. When Luke writes “the scriptures” I doubt he was thinking about what we called the New Testament.  I just felt a little challenged about how I have a tendency to focus on the New Testament especially the Gospels and neglect the Old Testament. Maybe that is why the Lectionary and Common Prayer are such good tools – they keep us grounded and spread around in the Scriptures. Maybe that is why I need to keep using them. Besides it just might be important if Jesus Christ himself would refer to the Old Testament as His go to text to explain and describe Himself.

Jesus Christ, warm my heart as I read all of the Old Old Story.

Reading again

So the last couple of weeks I have kind of instinctively started warming up for my 2nd year of seminary.  I have read stuff all summer ( for example: Patrick Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions of a Team, and Visioneering by Andy Stanley), but now I find myself reading Jesus, Humanity and the Trinity A brief Systematic Theology which is on my the book list for my class in the fall. Well, for one thing books like these I find myself reading paragraphs, pages, and sentences over and over again trying to catch on.

Reading this book has got my mind spinning on couple of things (sorry if this post wanders). I have found myself praying a certain phrase with my boys, for myself, for the people of St. Paul UMC and it is something to the effect of “shape us (or make us, restore us, ..) into the people You created us to be.”  The first chapter of this book seems to echo this prayer as part of what God wants to do. “The world is perfected by being brought into closer relations with the God who perfects it.” Kathryn (the author) goes on to talk about us as creatures should decrease so that God can increase is not how it works.  It is about us being  fully who we were created to be.

Here is where the second part of my wandering enters. I have been reading through Matthew with some friends doing a disciple challenge. A theme that seems to pop up frequently in Matthew is repentance and forgiveness. This has been messing with me a bit. What would it be like to live apart of a community that radically (I have noticed “radical” is becoming a favorite word of mine) confessed our sins to God and each other, forgave each other like we have been forgiven by God and humbly held each other accountable to the ways of the cross? This seems hard (and different from the world we live in) and yet so appealing.

Here is the prayer I prayed this past Sunday. It is a mash up of a various prayers and scripture. It is confessional because I am being challenged as I look at my week it didn’t have this as an ingrained part of who I am and I need it.

Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us – we are sinners.
We confess to you that we have not loved you with our whole heart.
We have failed to be an obedient church.
We have not done your will
We have broken your law
We have rebelled against your love
We have not loved our neighbors
we have not heard the cry of the needy
O Lord, you have searched us and you know us. You know where we’ve been, what we’ve said, and what we haven’t said,
You know the path we’ve been on in our past and the path we are heading down right now
Today as we enter into worship we confess to you our sins
we repent(we turn) from the evil ways that have ensnared us
We confess that some of us have anger that is eating us alive
some of us have fear and a lack of faith that paralyzes us
So of us greedily lust for people and things that distort the way we see and treat others
We have all made idols and worshiped something besides You, the Living God.
Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us.
But because of your great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,
You made us alive with Christ, even while we were dead in our sins
You have saved us by grace!
We Praise you!