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Thursday, November 13, 2008
Worship and MIssion: Part 2
More on what the "inside-out" idea of worship is about.  

Getting back to the relationship between worship and mission, and continuing to track with Schattauer's essay referenced in the prior post, I want us to consider this word from Pannenberg writing some 25 years ago. 

There is no reason for the existence of the church except to symbolize the future of the divine kingdom that Jesus came to proclaim. This explains in what specific sense worship is in the center of the life of the church:  The worship of the Christian community anticipates and symbolically celebrates the praise of God's glory that shall be consummated in the eschatological renewal of all creation in the new Jerusalem.  Wolfhart Pannenberg, Christian Spirituality (Philadelphia: Westminister, 1983)

I like what he is saying.  It is emphatic but it seems a bit incomplete.  It seems all anticipatory and missing the crucial formative element of memory.  Consider Rodney Clapp's analysis here:

Liturgy also implies and enacts mission... All liturgy is related to mission. . . . The church exists for the sake of the world. . . . Worship teaches and forms us to live by the Jesus story so that others--the entire world, the church prays--will learn to live according to reality and wholeness.  The people, the culture, that is now the church is joyful that God has already drawn it together, but it lives in hope of a greater joy, a joy that achieves fullness only in the kingdom's fullness.  (Rodney  Clapp, A Peculiar People: The Church as Culture in a Post-Christian  Society)

One more from Darrell Guder that puts an exclamation point on these ideas:  

Our postmodern society has come to regard worship as the private, internal, and often arcane activity of religionists who retreat from the world to practice their mystical rites. By definition, however, the ekklesia is a public assembly, and its worship is its first form of mission. . . . . The reality of  God that is proclaimed in worship is to be announced to and for the entire world.  (Darrell L. Guder, Missional Church:  A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America)

Do these thoughts provoke any stirring in you or are they mere statements of what is already obvious to you?  

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posted by John David Walt | at 11/13/2008 08:15:00 AM



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