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Tuesday, June 24, 2008
The Best Worship Orients us inside Scripture's Story

In order to be faithful to the biblical story in our corporate worship life, I find it helpful to take more of a Google Earth approach.  There's nothing like surfing the globe and seeing the whole North American continent and then zooming down, down, down onto my good old home town of Dumas, Arkansas

Much of the worship, not to mention the discipleship and Bible study I've experienced has tended to take more of a  "pixel" approach, beginning with a verse of Scripture or a particular story or chapter or book.  It's a quite pragmatic approach and somewhat easy to extract some helpful meaning or relevant application and then build a nice theme around it.  However, when you start on the ground with a tiny pixel it's hard to have a good sense of where you are.  The problem with this approach is it tends to situate the biblical text inside of some other story-- like the story of Western progress and prosperity, or the story of self actualization.  In other words, it's quite easy to trade in the big story for the pressing needs of some other story, most notably our own, or our church's.  The best worship reorients us week after week after week inside of the big true Story of the Triune God and the World.   

But before we get to actual worship design and how this works, we must become students of the Story.  The Story itself must become the OSX (operating system) of our mind.  We must learn to think in its frameworks and categories, dream in its imagery, pray in its metaphor, and speak in its linguistic codes (not to be confused with "Christian-ese")  

This is one of the things I like about Goheen and Bartholomew's book, "The Drama of Scripture:  Finding our Place in the Biblical Story."  Borrowing from N.T. Wright's idea of the biblical story as a five act  play, the book improvises and enhances the approach.  Here is the table of contents for the book.  

Prologue: The Bible as a Grand Story

Act 1 God establishes His Kingdom:  Creation
Act 2 Rebellion in the Kingdom:  Fall
Act  3  The King Chooses Israel:  Redemption Initiated
Scene 1 A People for the King
Scene 2 A Land for His People

Interlude A Kingdom  Story Waiting for an Ending:  The Intertestamental Period

Act 4  The Coming of the King:  Redemption Accomplished
Act 5 Spreading the News of the King:  The Mission of the Church
Scene 1 From Jerusalem to Rome
Scene 2 And into All the World

Act 6 The Return of the King:  Redemption Completed


posted by John David Walt | at 6/24/2008 08:47:00 PM



Anonymous Lesly said...

Great thoughts on preaching the entire story. I thought for a moment you were going to reference Dr. Kalas' "The Grand Sweep" in which you can teach and preach through the entire Bible in one year. I have done this once. It was transformational in my congregation. They got the entire story and I got to preach on the Old Testament for six months. Whew!!
When we keep the story broad and try to give a larger context it is more difficult to preach and teach by pulling things out of context. When I preach the entire story it keeps me from inserting my own biases in worship and preaching.

9:39 AM EDT  
Blogger ypjim said...

I really enjoy reading your blog JD. Here's another perspective on the story of God you might enjoy: http://www.echothestory.com/

9:54 AM EDT  
Anonymous john page said...

By preaching the grand sweep, or the great Story, it appears we would tend, if not need, to keep the focus on God, as the Story centers on God and His actions in the creation and through a people and then across the planet.

Kind of like a "God's-eye" view.

12:51 PM EDT  
Anonymous john page said...

Also, isn't it only by immersing ourselves in the Story that we are able to understand it?

3:40 PM EDT  

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