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5 Wonderful Traits of Traditional Worship

It is great being part of a charismatic church that meets both in homes and in a community centre. There is a wonderful sense of God’s presence when we meet together. But having been to more traditional services on occasions I feel that they too have some very positive elements that we can learn from and try to recapture.

1. Love of liturgy

Well written words that everyone says together can be a great blessing. There is a poetic depth that can enhance our worship. Our sense of corporate worship is enhanced by the knowledge that congregations across the world are joining with us following the pattern of the church year through the lectionary. Why not pick up on the lectionary or using scripted corporate prayers even on occasions?

2. Planning and preparation

The people contributing have obviously thought through what they are going do how each part fits together to make a whole. In many Anglican churches and in other denominations hymns, liturgy and sermon often fit together seamlessly. Activities such as communion and praying for current affairs are often regularly scheduled. Let’s not make a love for spontaneity an excuse not to prepare. In fact planning can release people in their gifts.

3. Beautiful backgrounds

Not only is there a value of a beautifully put together service but care is taken in arranging the setting. This is helpful in minimizing distractions but even if your concentration is drawn by the background it is still getting you to meditate on Christ. I remember being wowed at the icons when I visited my local Orthodox Church. It would be great to use art in worship. But even an awareness of how your room looks like to people would help!

4. Heritage of hymns

There is a depth of lyrics in some of the old hymns written by some great hymnists of the past. There is plenty of theology is them to ponder as you sing. The tunes too are very easy to sing as a congregation. My wife comments that she is always embarrassed at how loudly I sing at carol services. In choosing our songs for worship lets not forget some of these great hymns of the past.

5. Space for silence

I love the way traditional services are not afraid of silence. They often give time to mediate on the words that we say and to respond to the words of the sermon. I do find that in more tradition services there is space to interact with God in a quiet and calming atmosphere. Let’s not be frightened of periods of extended silence in our worship.

If you are part of a tradition church I would encourage you to value these elements. If you are part of a church like mine then take time to visit churches like this and if and when you have opportunity to lead worship seek to incorporate these elements in whatever way is appropriate in your own times of worship.

February 12, 2013 at 6:00 pm
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