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Monday, October 27, 2008
Worship Quote of the Week

Consider this word below from the late Bob Webber.  Think particularly about the implications it has for worship and mission.  

God’s vision for the world is remembered and anticipated in worship. Worship is all about how God, [who] with his own two hands—the incarnate Word and the Holy Spirit—has rescued the
world. . . . The centerpiece of his saving action is the incarnation, death, and resurrection, where sin and death have been defeated and where the deliverance of creatures and creation, which will be consummated at the end of history, will begin. In the meantime, worship is the witness to this vision.

Robert E. Webber, Ancient-Future Worship: Proclaiming and Enacting God’s Narrative. (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2008), 66.

I'm curious as to what you make of this notion of the Son and the Spirit being the two hands of the Father.  

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posted by John David Walt | at 10/27/2008 07:21:00 AM

 

6 Comments:

Blogger Jamey said...

I absolutely love it. To view and practice worship as a remembrance and anticipation of GOd's mighty acts in the past/present/future, namely through Jesus and the Spirit is awesome. Yet I fail to see how this is mission.

In a worship gathering renovation process meeting last night, someone in his 20s said, “Coming and singing a few songs and listening to a sermon is not a mission” (or something to that effect) when talking about the desire for young adults to be part of a cause greater than themselves.

This caused me to lose about two hours of sleep last night as I prayed and thought about this truth and how it affects our situation. I have been wrestling over the fact that the last several weeks the Hour has had some of its most engaging worship services ever, yet our attendance has been down. I really think it has to do with the shift from a “come and see” mentality in the Baby Boomer generation to “go and do” in the Gen X and Y’s. I know some would disagree, but I would argue that even the very best worship service that we can put together is not going to be a significant piece in drawing young adults to our church. That is certainly not to say that we should not design the very best worship services. What I am saying is that in order to reach people, we need to focus on being missional 24/7 and inviting our friends to be on mission with us. Once we are on mission with Christ, they will gather with us and worship our God.

Sorry for not answering your question :)

10:29 AM EDT  
Blogger Markio said...

"Two hands of the Father"... I'm not theologically trained so please feel free to ignore/remove this comment.

This sounds to be reminiscent of Eastern Trinitarian theory, where The Father begets the Son and Breathes the Spirit, rather than our western view of the Spirit being breathed by both Father and Son. This is however a "heresy" that I have often played with, becasue it does -despite bordering on tritheism- make sense.

The remainder of the quotation has the hint of traditional Christianity "the deliverance of creatures and creation, which will be consummated at the end of history", he sounds to me much like someone from the Emergent Conversation.

10:30 AM EDT  
Blogger ode2immortality said...

I like it, a lot.

It gets to bypass the limitations of systematically describing sometime like the Trinity and it lets poetry (or poetic language) do what it does best. A beautiful painting can be more accurate than a digital photo.

12:41 PM EDT  
Anonymous John D. Palmer said...

First impression. Didn't think much of it. Had to re-read that part of the post to notice it.

Further Impression. I think that the author of the quote(Webber) was simply trying to give readers descriptive images that would resonate with how encompassing God's presence is where the world is concerned. It resonates with the images of the Old Testament and how God's feet demonstrated his presence in the Holy of Holies, the notion of "God with Us".

I don't like the notion that we might use this imagery to inform on theological reflection about the nature of God. First I don't think that was the intent of the author, and second it opens up a can of worms.

I like the image of God using his two hands to rescue the world. I would not and do not see this image as one of the hands being the Incarnate Word and the other being the Holy Spirit. I believe the nature of God is that He is All in All. Not separated out. When I envision Holy Spirit, my thoughts are God,Jesus,Spirit all at once. When I envision Jesus, it is God,Spirit, Jesus all at once.

In the same way when I see J.D. Walt I see, Chaplin, Friend, Writer all at once.

As to the fullness of this statment where worship and mission are concerned. I see being a witness to God's vision as being one of my prime missions as a believer in Christ.

So this statement over all resonates with my notion of Worship as being mission.

1:58 PM EDT  
Blogger The LeRoys said...

In a moment of excited creativity I used that image once in a college class and my systematic theology professor called me a heretic in the tradition of someone I don't remember. Everyone pointed and laughed. It was the Christian college equivalent of dropping your tray in the cafeteria. Still scarred by that one.

But I see what Webber is trying to say... that the Son and the Spirit are actively bringing about and working out the will and vision of God. Worship is remembering the completed work and rehearsing the completion still to come.

4:09 PM EDT  
Blogger Rob said...

matt leroy lives! i heard rumors to that effect.

the most recent conversation sounds right to me. this is a nice image just as a warm hand shake is a tangible way we enter into a relationship; but to reduce the other person to the hands is a bit much.

Yes, the Son and Spirit are the "up close and personal" members of the Trinity (we just can't get out of our physicality and locale mindset), and part of their willful and mutual submission in love with the Father has put them in the role of active agents in bringing about the will of the Father; but they are so much more than that.

So, to the extent that this is true, I like it; and to the extent that it reduces the truth, I don't. The sucky thing about analogies...they break down at some point, eh? (that eh is for you mark b., in case you're listening)

6:46 AM EDT  

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