Monthly Archives: August 2013
Did you? Apparently every church is a liturgical church to some degree, depending on how the word liturgical is defined.
The staff and I have been reading through a book by Mike Cosper: Rhythms of Grace; How the Churches Worship Tells the Story of the Gospel. It has been very helpful toward helping me more fully understand and think about what we are trying to accomplish when we gather together. We want to engage in processes and practices that facilitate gospel shaping.
But back to liturgy. Cosper writes in chapter eight that though liturgy can be confusing, “often conjuring up images of ‘smells and bells,’ vestment-wearing pastors and priests, burning incense, and ancient chants. The word itself (liturgy) comes from two Greek words meaning “public work,” or (as it’s often described) ‘the word of the people.’ To talk about liturgy in its most basic sense is to talk about what the congregation is gathering to do. In this sense, every church has a liturgy; we all gather with work to do… As we plan and order our services, discerning the content to include, we shape beliefs and devotional life of our church members. It’s a crazy pastoral opportunity, if you think about it. When else do you have the opportunity to put words in the people’s mouths?”
All churches should be intentionally liturgical churches because every church ought to be thinking about gathering in such a way that they help people remember and proclaim the gospel so that they can be shaped by it for God’s glory among the nations.
So a couple of summary thoughts about why this is worth the time of a writing a blog. First, Cosper’s book is worth the read for those who want to think in-depth about worship gatherings. Second, it is good to know what words mean, not just what we think they mean based on cultural conditioning. Third, our worship gatherings should be evaluated by whether the work we are doing is helping us be shaped by the good news of Jesus Christ. It should not be judged primarily on entertainment value or for other lesser reasons. Fourth, the Eagle Heights faith family is trying to be intentional about all we do. Some areas still need a lot of work, but we aren’t just gathering for the sake of gathering.
Our family of five just spent the last nine days on vacation and during that time I fielded a litany of questions. The one I remember the most is this one: “Dad, do you drink beer?”
It stuck with me because it seemed a very strange question in light of the fact that my most extensive beer experience was a mere tasting back in high school.
Why then did Luke ask me a question that seemed out of the blue?
On the way to our vacation destination and while we were there, he observed multiple people drinking beer. Children notice and hear more than we realize and so seeing a decent amount of beer consumed he must have wondered if his dad was secretly doing what he saw others doing.
And so I answered him this way: “Son, have you ever seen me drink a beer?” To which he responded, “No.” To which I asked, “Son, do you think daddy hides things from you?” To which he responded, “No.” To which I stated, “Son, mommy and daddy don’t hide things from you because we want you to trust us. We don’t sneak around doing things that you don’t know about, and if ever you have other questions about what we do and don’t do, you can ask about that also. Okay?”
This little story is not primarily about whether I think it is wrong to drink beer or other kinds of alcohol. We already have and will continue to talk to both of our sons about the dangers of drinking and why we convictionally choose not to drink – though we are in some ways free to do so. The point is that my son wondered whether I was being completely honest with him about what I was saying and what I was doing, and so he wanted to know whether I was being consistent. I looked him in the eye and told him that he could trust me because what he heard and saw is what is real.
I don’t know if it was a memorable moment for him or not, but for me it was a powerful moment to be able to say to my son, “You can trust your dad on this.”
I want to be as consistent as I can in parenting the children God has given.
I want them to trust us and I want them to feel free to ask questions. Even hard ones.
I want to be able to look each of them in the eye and say, “We don’t attempt to hide things from you. You can trust us.”
These parenting aspirations were strengthened in me as the result of a simple and honest question. May God use them for His great glory and the good of my children.