The Sublimely Ordinary Drama Of Regular Lord’s Day Worship

The ethos of liturgical seasons and their attendant dramatic worship peculiarities — imposition of ashes, the stripping of the altar after Communion on Maunday Thursday, etc. — is centered more on a theater of the nostalgic than the sublimely ordinary drama of regular Lord’s Day worship.

NATURALLY WE ARE GIVEN TO sensuality and to theatricality. This is true in our penchant for amusements and it’s easily imported into our preference for worship. We are not content to receive and rest upon Christ as he is offered in the gospel. No, naturally, we long to contribute if even just a little bit to it ourselves, through the drama of special seasonal preparations — fasts — and the subsequent celebratory feasts. Read more»

Ken Shepherd | “The Week-Ness of Reformed Worship” | NTJ 16.3 etc, 6


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  1. Reading the article called to mind a turning point for me in understanding the our context in worship – that we are in Christ, who died, was raised, and is ascended to the Father.

    I was helping prepare a Maundy Thursday service (PCUSA church). The predominant view toward the service was that we were trying to create the atmosphere of that very night, when Christ is arrested, tried, and moved toward crucifixion. Someone proposed that in lieu of a benediction, the “officiant” announce the end of the service and dismiss the congregation saying, “There is no good news tonight.”

    The idea that we must somehow magically go back in time and place to experience “what it was like” would seem to be another quest for affective catharsis. All I know is that I argued against it in vain.

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