:: Friday, January 10, 2003 ::
Paul Fromont recently posted an interesting article about postmodernist worship in a New Zealand Presbyterian Church.
Part of my senior thesis at Pacific University was on the issue of communication of the gospel in worship. I never finished the paper, as I ran out of money and had to drop out of school. I'm not sure I would have ever finished it on time anyway--the rough draft was almost 150 pages.... without the 25 page bibliography!
One of the points the article makes is that postmodern Christians are increasingly not interested in, what my wife calls, the "3 hymns, an offering, and a 45 minute monologue" style of worship. Many Protestant churches are trying to create a more experiential worship that engages the congregation and allows them a part to play in the liturgy.
Friends of mine tell me their Protestant churches now have special "contemplative" worship services where Gregorian chant is played, candles are lit and various Scripture passages are read. Some churches project pictures of Byzantine icons on PowerPoint during praise songs or attempt to introduce sacramental practices such as frequent communion and baptism into their services. These developments, via the postmodern imputes, fascinate me.
The funny thing is in the Orthodox Church all of these things have been kept in their fullness in the liturgical tradition! The liturgical life of the Church is the daily living out of the Incarnation. The use of water, oil, bread, wine, icons, incense, etc are all part of the mystery of God's continual and sanctifying presence in the Church, and through his Body, the whole world.
One of the things that attracts so many to the Orthodox Church is an experiential worship where all 5 senses are utilized in the liturgy. Whether it is the smelling of the incense, the tasting of the Eucharist, the hearing of the chanting, the seeing of the icons and the physical expressions of piety such as the sign of the cross, Orthodox liturgy is intensely participatory! (If you don't believe me, go to a Lenten service this spring--the prostrations alone will make your thighs hurt for days!)
:: Karl :: 4:49:00 PM [Link] ::