Liturgical Musings

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Ancient-Future and Blended Worship: What Are They and What’s the Difference?

The genesis of this article was as a response to a comment on our Facebook Group, UMC Worship. The original question was: "I am intensely passionate about 'Ancient-Future' worship a la the late Robert Webber. To my way of thinking, that is a different thing altogether than blended worship. Is that accurate? I'm wondering if you could comment on the difference between ancient-future and blended worship." 

 

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When You MUST Cancel Christmas

If you've lived in the "snowbelts" of the U.S. for any length of time, you know there are times when it is simply not safe even to try to gather for worship, even if it is Christmas Eve. . . . So what do you do when safety issues mean you simply must cancel Christmas? Have a back-up plan ready to go!  

 

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Rising Gas Prices vs. Worship: How Worship Can Still Win

The cost of fuel in the United States is likely to make a mark on congregations, once again, and maybe even more profoundly this time as prices appear likely to go higher than 2008 levels. People who need to drive a considerable distance to attend worship, meetings, or other events may be especially affected. Some people are already beginning to wonder whether they can continue to afford the cost of such travel at all. Others may soon start making trade-offs, such as continuing to travel but reducing financial contributions. Still others might choose to attend less often, but continue their current rate of contributions. 

 

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On Prayer: With Our Bodies, In Community, and In the Spirit

In every case, what the body does to participate in this prayer is not an "add-on" to the prayer, but an integral part of it. Prayer isn't just the words or ideas. It involves every part of us attending to the Spirit and offering to God what is needed from us at the moment. 

 

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On Prayer: Our First Vocation

How much time is spent in prayer when you gather for worship? What steps have you already taken to make prayer "job 1" in your setting? 

 

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Call to Action: Congregational Vitality Presentation and Worship—A Study Guide (Updated)

On Monday, July 12, 2010, United Methodist Communications posted the two major research reports given to the Call to Action Committee created by the Council of Bishops and the Connectional Table. . . . The first of these reports, the "Connectional Vitality Presentation" most directly relates to worship in our church. I'm offering this study guide -- to help you understand what the findings here might mean where you are and then to have the conversations with one another, with leaders in your congregation, with other colleagues, and always with God, that may help you take the most fruitful next steps where you are. 

 

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On U.S. Flags in U.S. United Methodist Worship Spaces

Does the flag of The United States of America belong in the worship spaces of United Methodists in the U.S.? And if so, where, and how should it be used? 

 

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Does Intercession Work?

Over this past weekend, a number of major news outlets carried the story of the results of the largest, most scientifically rigorous study of the effects of intercessory prayer. Led by Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard University, the STEP (Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer) protocol involved 1802 patients receiving a coronary artery bypass graft procedure at six major hospitals throughout the country. In case you haven't heard, the results are that intercession, as conducted in this study, appeared to have no positive effect on reducing the number of complications of the cardiac patients for whom prayer was intentionally offered. 

 

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Ordo and/or Chaos: Some Thoughts on Worship Stations

Worship in The United Methodist Church is very diverse, but generally grounded in the same fourfold pattern (ordo) of gathering, proclaiming and responding to Scripture, thanksgiving and Communion, and sending forth. This basic fourfold pattern can also be described as three actions of assembly: assembly around the font (gathering and sending forth), assembly around Scripture (hearing, proclaiming, and responding to Scripture), and assembly around the Lord's Table (Holy Communion).  

 

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Worn Out Words for Worship? A Review of a Lecture by Louis-Marie Chauvet

One of the questions that Methodists have regularly faced over our history in the United States is whether our official worship texts still "work" for our people and our mission. Methodists have been asking this question and making revisions to official ritual since 1792, just eight years after becoming a church in North America and adopting The Sunday Service, John Wesley's revision of the Book of Common Prayer.  

 

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