When Your Church Can’t Meet: The Value of Liturgy

When Your Church Can't Be Together, It Can Be Together In Its LiturgyLiturgy is the form of worship that a church walks through when it assembles.

“Liturgy is the customary public worship performed by a religious group. As a religious phenomenon, liturgy represents a communal response to and participation in the sacred through activity reflecting praise, thanksgiving, supplication or repentance.” source

In our church, our liturgy takes the form of Call to Worship, Confession of Sin (or Lament), Remembering the Gospel, Thanksgiving and Prayer, Offering, Scripture Reading, Sermon, and Benediction (Blessing and Sending). These elements include both songs and responsive readings, as well as times of silent meditation.

A benefit of a liturgical form is that when your church has to assemble in small groups or cannot assemble at all, the people know what to do. When your people cannot be together as a whole, they can be together in their liturgy.

If your church can’t assemble this Sunday, and you need a worship service in your home, our church posts our entire liturgy with song videos on our blog. Search the “Service Previews.” Then go to Sermons page to hear the message for that Sunday.

Need more songs to sing? Visit my worship song page or Hymnicity.

Fear and Sparrows — A Song for Days of Uncertainty

Fear and Sparrows — Luke 12:4–7“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

— Luke 12:4–7

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Ten Theses on Voting

These ten theses represent my beliefs about voting in political elections.

  1. I will vote (unless providentially hindered).
  2. I will vote in a way that I believe glorifies God.
  3. I will vote in a way that I believe is loving to my neighbor.
  4. I will vote in a way that does not violate my conscience.
  5. I will vote for the candidate that best represents my beliefs regarding the federal government.
  6. I am not voting for a Pastor-in-Chief.
  7. I recognize that every candidate is flawed and sinful.
  8. I am not obligated to tell you who I am voting for (or why).
  9. I am not obligated to tell you who I’m not voting for (or why).
  10. Those who shame others for voting their conscience are friends of neither democracy nor of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Unless I am convinced by scripture and plain reason (I do not accept the authority of the pundits and commentators, for they have contradicted each other) my conscience is captive to the Word of God.

I cannot do otherwise for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe.

God help me.

Amen.

Jumping to Conclusions

There is a broad canyon of information between knowing actions and knowing motivation. Perhaps that’s why we call hasty judgments “jumping to conclusions.”

There is a world of difference between the statement “You did this to me.” and “You did this to me because ___________.” The former is a statement about someone’s action. The latter is a statement about one’s motives. Action is easier to perceive than motivation. Actions are external. Motives reside in the heart and mind.

The only way to rightly perceive a motive is to communicate—to ask questions, to clarify, to listen, to understand. But that takes work and time.

And so, we usually jump to conclusions. It’s easier to take a flying leap across the significant span between observed-action to concrete-motivation. Of course, it often fails with a messy and fatal SPLAT! on the canyon floor.

More challenging is the task of bridge-building. The work of careful, patient, good-faith communication necessitates setting aside our pride. We must lay aside our certainty about our initial feeling, sense, and suspicion. This entails caring more about what is actually true of our neighbor than what we want to be true. In short, it requires love. And love usually involves dying to ourselves to give life to a relationship.

Each approach involves death. But only one promises the possibility of a life-giving relationship.


Order Worthy: Celebrating the Value of Women.