Posts Tagged ‘worship’

Maxie’s Weekly Word

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012 | By Maxie Dunnam
Filed in: Maxie Dunnam, Maxie's Weekly Word

0comments

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Alpha and Omega

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” (Rev. 1:8 NIV).

The disciple John is now an old man. Because of his faith and perhaps his opposition to the emperor, he has been exiled to the Isle of Patmus. The church is suffering under persecution.  It was the Lord’s Day and John remembers the fellowship of fellow Christians. The Spirit came to him and he has a vision. It was a vision as bright as the sun breaking through the clouds in the midst of a storm. A voice comes with the thunder of a trumpet, saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. The one who is, who was, and who is to come. “

John fell down at the feet of the One who was speaking. Breathless in adoration, John says, When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said “Do not be afraid.  I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever. (Rev. 1:17-18 NIV)

Jesus, “the Alpha and the Omega”, says, “I AM THE BEGINNING OF LIFE AND I AM THE END OF HISTORY.”

While this Advent and Christmas season we celebrate the coming of Jesus as a Babe in a Manger, we must not miss the fact that he became the man, Jesus. And Jesus is not just another good man, not even the best of all men. Jesus is not just another prophet, not even the greatest of all prophets. Jesus is not just a god in a lineup of gods from whom we might choose. All things were made by him. He is the beginning of the created order, he is       the pre-existent Christ, and he is the cosmic Christ. It is no wonder that John, when he had this vision, fell at Jesus’ feet.

Christ is the beginning of life. He is also the beginning of our new life. Jesus is alive, and we have the promise “because I live, you will live also.”(John 14:19)  With John, we fall down, even before the manger, and worship him.

 

 

Register Now for LCI 2013!

 

Calling all clergy, church staff and lay leaders! Ready to set your congregation on fire for God? Register now for “Ignite: Growing Disciples to Transform the World,” the 2013 Large Church Initiative of the United Methodist Church.

LCI 2013 will feature more than 50 workshops on growing disciples focused on:

    • Stewardship
    • Congregational Care
    • Education
    • Children
    • Youth
    • Serving
    • Worship
    • Communications

 … and more.

 

Hosted by Hyde Park United Methodist Church in Tampa, FL

April 22-24

 

Early bird registration rates and workshop selections are now available!

Registration Fee

On or Before Feb. 1, 2013 – Early Bird Rate

$299 individual

$279 group (four or more people)

After Feb. 1, 2013

$349 individual

$329 group (four or more people)

 Register online at www.lci2013.com

The View from Here

Thursday, March 15th, 2012 | By Mike Coyner
Filed in: Michael Coyner, The View from Here

0comments

“SURVIVORS, NOT VICTIMS”

Mike Coyner

Bishop Michael Coyner

 

Last Sunday was a special day for me.  I was able to visit and attend worship at the Henryville United Methodist Church which is located in the town so recently devastated by a tornado.  Amazingly the UM church building survived (I guess that is because those older churches were built like a small fortress), and it is now the center for much of the relief and recovery effort.  During that worship service we heard from two women of their church who were secretaries in the school and had to “ride out” the tornado.  Both affirmed that they were not afraid, but felt like God’s hand was hovering over them and protecting them and the children in their offices.  Another woman shared what it was like to be on the first EMT team to respond to the tornado.  As a recent graduate of the high school, she was able to navigate through the wreckage and help the survivors to get out of the rubble.

 

All in all, it was a very moving worship service.  People in Henryville are “survivors” and not just “victims” of that tornado.  I use those two words carefully, because I believe that all of us in life must choose whether to live as “victims” or as “survivors.”  All of us are victimized by various events and people and tragedies in life – and I certainly don’t want to minimize the pain and anguish of those events and the hurts that are caused.  But I have observed that people have to respond to such events by choosing to be either a “victim” or a “survivor.”  The “victim” attitude does not help a person to heal, to endure, and to move on.  Some people fall into the trap of holding onto the “victim” mentality, and such a mentality really hampers their healing.  Other people seem to realize that they are not just victims, they are survivors, and that “survivor” attitude helps them to conquer the pain, hurt, heartache, and suffering they have endured.

 

What makes the difference?  I think it is having a rock-solid faith in God.  That is what helps us to go through victimizing events without giving in to the victim mentality.

 

So I am proud to say that I met a lot of people in Henryville who are real “survivors” – persons who have moved on from being victimized and are learning to survive and conquer.

 

May God help all of us to follow their model and to live our lives as those who survive, conquer, and even thrive.

 

 

Sing edited by Julie Tennent

Sing, edited by Julie Tennent

Sing!

Edited by Julie Tennent

Each year Asbury Theological Seminary produces a daily scripture reader. This year’s edition, Sing, begins February 6, 2012 and runs through the Day of Pentecost (Feb-May). Edited by Julie Tennent, Sing teaches us to sing our way through the Psalms as we journey to the cross and onward to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Tennent has put together a masterful  collection of Psalms with singable melodies and accompanied by daily readings which give deeper insight into the psalter. Psalms were written to be sung and this is a perfect opportunity to rediscover the practice. This resource is being used by large and small communities alike to orient their lives around reading a common text. It also works well for individual or small group use. There will also be a creative range of online features via Asbury’s mobile reader app.

Click here for an index of singing the Psalms.

You can download a PDF version of Sing for just $.50 at Asbury’s Seedbed website

Click here to read Julie’s thoughts about using hymns for worship.

The Wesleyan ConneXion

The Wesleyan ConneXion Third Annual Wesleyan Theological Forum

Preaching Christ in the Wesleyan Tradition

 

Dr. Michael Pasquarillo ~ Asbury Seminary

Rev. Dr. Derek Weber ~ Aldersgate United Methodist Church

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 ~ 9:00am – 3:30pm
Grace UMC ~ 1300 E. Adams Dr., Franklin, IN 46131               $40.00 (lunch included)

This is a great opportunity. Don’t miss it!! Read more about it here. Register here.

John Meunier

As a part-time local pastor in the United Methodist Church, my drive to church is longer than most ordained clergy. Like many part-time pastors, I serve a church many miles from my home. It takes about 30 minutes to drive to worship on Sunday morning.

During that drive, I pass many churches. Some are small churches like the one I serve. Some are much larger. For a couple weeks, one I pass had a water slide and an inflatable bounce house set up in its parking lot. We are a people who love church so much, it seems, that we put them down everywhere we can find some open real estate.

Which gets me thinking about why the world needs the little church I serve. The 25 or so people who worship there every week could easily be absorbed by other congregations. Why does God need Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church?

The answer, of course, can only be found among the members of the congregation. It is found as we gather together on Sunday to offer healing prayers around our piano player whose sore back is acting up. It is found as the choir ladies – all half dozen of them – sing a Communion hymn. It is found as members gather after worship for Bible Study. It is found as a church member shares with the congregation a way they can help a boy in town who need dialysis.

It turns out that God often works among the few. Jesus Christ shows up with a rag-tag bunch of a dozen. God gets rid of all the extra soldiers because it would not bring him as much glory if Gideon were to win the day at the head of a mighty host.

By every rational standard of efficiency and wise organization, these tiny churches make no sense at all. For whatever reason, though, God appears to love these little Gideon churches. He has so many of them. And thank God for that.

Jason Vickers

The most frequent question I get from seminary students these days goes something like this: what is emerging worship, and why are so many folks making such a fuss over it? Like so many other movements in theology or worship, emerging worship can be a little difficult to define.  Indeed, what counts as emerging worship can vary from place to place. So in what follows, I don’t so much want to define emerging worship as to make some general observations about what gave rise to it and about the ways in which some people are reacting to it. Insofar as people’s negative reaction has to do with the media or forms used in emerging worship, I want to issue a reminder: we Christians have used an amazing diversity of media and forms to worship our God across the centuries. In other words, I think it is important to locate our conversations about emerging worship against the long horizon that is the history of Christian worship.

 

One way to think about emerging worship is to see it as a response to two of the chief criticisms of contemporary worship. First, critics of contemporary worship often argue that contemporary worship is theologically shallow. Second, critics of contemporary worship often observe that the use of digital media and technology in contemporary worship means that there are few discernible differences between the church’s worship and life outside of worship. For example, the music in worship is not discernibly different than secular music. Similarly, the power point presentation accompanying the service resembles the power point presentations taking place in the corporate boardrooms in which so many people are stuck during the week.

 

In response to these criticisms, architects of emerging worship are seeking to recover more traditional theological language and to create a worship ethos that is noticeably different from secular concerts and corporate boardrooms. Thus, while they still encourage casual dress, they are dialing back on the use of technology, and they are replacing high voltage spotlights with the dim light of candles. They are also developing more theologically sophisticated music, and they are working to recover lost liturgical practices from the ancient church, including the liturgical calendar, confession of the ancient creeds, prayers of repentance, the stations of the cross, and the like. Many emerging churches are emphasizing natural symbols and images over all things digital. They are using wood panel icons, a common wood or clay cup for communion, and ashes to make the sign of the cross on their foreheads during Ash Wednesday services.

 

The backlash against emerging worship is hardly surprising. In the turn to symbols, to “ritual,” and to ancient liturgical practices, many people see a turn to something else altogether, namely, Roman Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy. In other words, they see an abandoning of what they regard as classical Protestantism. Others see in the dim, candle-lit worship spaces something sinister and evil, a kind of dark or “new age” spirituality. They are sure that the emerging church is actually the undoing of the church, the proverbial last nail in the Western church’s coffin.

 

We need to notice what is happening here. We are spending a great deal of energy these days worrying about the forms and media of worship. We are wrestling with whether one type of music is more appropriate than another for worship. We are debating the merits of liturgical dance. We aren’t sure what to do if our church substitutes candle light for electricity. We are questioning whether Protestants can make use of iconography without giving way to idolatry. And on and on it goes.

 

In the midst of all our anxiety, we need to stand back and recall that we Christians have been worshipping our God for a very, very long time. Across the centuries and throughout the world, we have employed an amazing diversity of forms and media in our worship. We have employed every musical instrument imaginable, from organs and pianos, to harps, bagpipes, drums, and a variety of horns and stringed instruments. We have used an astonishing array of music styles, ranging from chant to drumming, classical music, hymns, southern gospel, black gospel, and hip-hop. We have used an amazing variety of sacred art, including sculpture, wood panel paintings, frescoes, and kitsch. We have worshipped our God in bright, sun-lit sanctuaries and in mysterious, dark spaces. We have celebrated and praised our God in everything from caves to cathedrals. We have worshipped our God at midnight and in the wee hours of the morning. We have used the lectionary, and we have preached extemporaneously. We have worn every conceivable kind of clothing, and we have stripped naked for our baptism.

 

In the light of the history of Christian worship, we need to make a very simple decision. We need to decide whether we are going to operate with a miserly or a generous Pneumatology. Like prayer, all true worship originates with the Holy Spirit. Thus we must decide whether we really want to confine the work of the Holy Spirit to favored liturgical forms and media or whether we are going to confess together that the Holy Spirit is free to work or not to work, to speak or not to speak, to be present or not to be present regardless of the forms or media that we choose to employ. We must decide whether we really want to confine the Spirit to hymns, or whether we will be open to the presence and work of the Spirit through gospel songs, praise choruses, or Byzantine chant. We must decide whether we really want to claim that the Holy Spirit is afraid of the dark, or whether we will be open to the moving of the Holy Spirit in dimly lit worship spaces.