Thursday, October 15, 2009

In re: Monday's comment

So, I've thought a lot about the comment made about this post. I understand the rationale behind his comments and can get on board with that, however, I also think it's somewhat myopic in the sense that there are 1000s of ways to do liturgy--from various denominations in different styles and languages and cultures.

In support of his argument, I like that I can go to any United Methodist Church and be familiar with the liturgy. Even when the liturgy is done in a foreign language, I can still follow along because I know the rhythms of the liturgy. For that reason, I do still use the communion and baptism liturgies regularly in worship (we are using the traditional UM communion liturgy from the hymnal every other month and I used the traditional baptism liturgy at the last baptism we did).

However, I have also found God through the diversity of liturgy in seminary and in churches around the world. From simple to complex, wordy to brief, I have been able to see and understand the significance of worship (including the sacraments) in many ways. Because of that, I like to offer a diversity of experience to my congregation(s). I want them to feel comfortable in UMCs. I also want them to feel comfortable in other churches, regardless of denomination or style.

Worship is dynamic and living. It is not a prescribed formula, worship is what the church (meaning the people) make it. Creativity and imagination draw us into worship. And while the staples of liturgy help us to find the familiar and comfortable voice of God, the creative and new elements help us to encounter the dynamic and challenging face of God.

I am a United Methodist pastor and I will teach the history of the church and help my congregation(s) to learn the ways of the church. I am also a creative worship leader and will continue to bring in new experiences and offer the unexpected in hopes that we can be a flexible and open congregation rather than a stagnant and rigid institution.

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