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Thursday, May 07, 2009
Time Flies: Worship as collision of past and future in the present

In our worship design and leadership we must work to strike a balance--- no, not a balance--- but a chord.  Yes, we must work to strike a chord between the past and the future; between remembrance and anticipation. (The Bible words would be "anamnesis" and "prolepsis," but that's not important for now).  What is important is the way memory and anticipation work in Christian worship.  

In worship-- which is to say the gathered Body of Christ presencing in the communion of the Son and the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit-- our Spirit empowered remembering mysteriously ushers the past into the present moment. At the same time, our Spirit empowered anticipation mysteriously ushers the future into the present moment. 

Worship is a collision of the past and the future in the present, making for a reality bursting with revelation; a panoramic unfolding of the view of God's mercy. 

The secret to this is Jesus himself, who in his death redeems the past, bringing all of fallen creation into the present and who in his resurrection pierces the veil of the future, pulling the essence of eternity backwards into the present. 

Time Flies!

The Kingdom comes in this collision. It happens in the abiding place of the Cross. The collision shows us in sketch what the consummation will bring in full living high definition color. 

How do you respond to this almost inconceivable statement?

posted by John David Walt | at 5/07/2009 09:28:00 PM



Blogger Joshua Andrew Smith said...

I've been reading Hebrews and thinking about how the priest/king/prophet titles have a past/present/future flavor to them as well. Although eventually, "future" will lose meaning, as we will have only the present Kingdom made possible by the past priestly act. He is the God who is in active Lordship over every epoch of time. We certainly want to keep it all in view as we behold Him.

PS. "Almost inconceivable" was putting it mildly.

1:12 AM EDT  
Blogger sandra r. said...

Appreciate this post. Been rethinking these things a lot lately...
The first time I heard this concept, it blew me away! I think of everything now from the lens of being immersed in the Story and "remembering"...

This diagram is different than the one I remember >+<
Not sure how to receive this one yet - still processing...

As for the profundity of the inconceivable... yah, it's sometimes too much for my heart and mind to grasp!

Romans 11:36, "For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen."

12:33 AM EDT  
Anonymous Chad Brooks said...

This is a hard thing to pull off. Whenever I am leading worship, whether singing, praying, speaking or just reading-I try to make sure that I approach it in respect to the entire salvific movement of God. Part of that does mean remembering, and another piece is looking forward. This hardest part seems to be nailing down the here and now.

What I find is that in my own private time with God He reveals to me how I am not expressing the present right. Does that make sense? Earlier this year I spent alot of time thinking about the idea of asking the Holy Spirit to come, knowing fully well that He is already in our midst, it is us that do not realize it.

Glad you put this into writing JD, it is a great current thought.

4:55 PM EDT  
Anonymous Joel said...

I find myself wondering why you speak of this in a way that indicates it is uniquely true, or at least "more true", of corporate worship, and not the entirety of Christian life. Especially given the paragraph starting "The secret to this is Jesus himself." After all, Jesus' actions are no less true, no less sufficient outside the corporate worship act. Is it due to something inherent in worship, or is it more due to the simple fact that we (hopefully) spend more focused time on remembering and anticipating in corporate worship than we do in other facets of life?

7:49 PM EDT  
Blogger Kendra said...

I like seeing that my Jesus holds past, present, and future in His hands. It's going to take me a long time to get to know that man, my God.

9:51 PM EDT  
Blogger John David Walt said...

thanks Joel for the question-- I, too wrestle with this. i do not at all mean to diminish the dynamic of worship outside of the gathering nor to make one sublimated to the other. nor do i want to get into a chicken and egg conundrum.

I do believe that corporate worship is defining and determinative of so many things. Here is where we "remember" together. here is where the Body-- the "people-ness" of the people is constituted. here is where we see together the view of God's mercy which leads to the place of bodies (plural) being offered as a living sacrifice (singular).

that said-- i believe that this notion of memory and anticipation does take on the shape of contemplation and activism in the world-- which is no less worship than the gathered body worshipping.

help me continue to process this.


7:00 AM EDT  

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