Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Worship that Gives Life

The original meaning of the word, “ritual” was life-giving.  It referred to a repeated action (like prayer or a play) that enhanced the life of the participants or audience by creating a certain response or teaching a life lesson.

Ritual has come to mean, for many people today, quite the opposite, something that is deadly boring. However, our worship together on a Sunday morning has the same purpose as the original meaning of “ritual.”  If it isn’t life-giving then we’re not doing it right.

One of the most challenging features in worship planning is the choosing of hymns. We know that it is simply not possible to please everyone, so we developed a  set of principles for choosing hymns.  We know that it is not about signing our favourites, it’s about making choices that are life-giving.

The principles we use are:

1. A balance of hymn styles, utilizing the best of what was used at the former 9:15 and 11:00 o’clock services. This balance includes a balance of organ and piano, and anthems from both the Senior and Junior Choirs. There is a deep hope that we will grow the band and use yet another style of music to praise the Lord.

2. We hope to avoid obsolete language in our hymns (and prayers). This might mean just dropping a verse of a hymn rather than loosing an old favourite all together. New music will be introduced and taught.

3. We will continue to choose hymns based on the readings assigned for the day and/or the liturgical season we’re in, however, we recognize that mood counts and will also be taken into consideration.

4. We will endeavour to cultivate a spirit of enthusiasm, in the choirs, the band and other liturgical leaders.

It is important to be guided by principles rather than just singing our favourites. It is unlikely that we could ever agree on a list of favourites anyway.

It is the expressed goal and intent of the Worship Team to do our best in planning worship that is truly life-giving and that draws us more deeply into a mystical and joy-filled relationship with God.

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