July 3, 2011

Worship Connect

The Worship Pastors of the Evangelical Covenant Church have put together a (closed) facebook group where we discuss our calling: leading our people in the worship of our Creator. Out of these discussions, the denomination has asked us to contribute weekly to a public blog so that the denomination as a whole can benefit from the conversation. I was so excited to be asked to contribute!

This week, it's been a very interesting discussion on what to do with national holidays; how does one curate worship gatherings and keep Jesus as the focal point - the subject of the story, as it were - but still honor the cultures in which we find ourselves when they celebrate a holiday (July 4, Memorial Day, etc). There have been many points of view and ideas brought to the table, and we'd love you to contribute your thoughts on the subject. The blog post in question (written by our own Matt Nightingale) can be found here. We'd love to hear from you!


DG said...

This is a great topic. I think our church handles it well - we are patriotic on July 4, but don't get into the "God and country" thing. I know that is vague! Does our church handle this differently between the traditional and contemporary services?

Chris said...

I think that our traditional service is a bit more "patriotic" than our contemporary service, or at least, they are more likely to want to celebrate that patriotism in the context of a worship gathering. I didn't receive any negative feedback for not singing patriotic hymns at all, we treated July 4 more as a chance to simply be thankful with all we've been given. We did sing "Eternal Father, Strong to Save" which is a prayer more for how to live and less of a "yay, America" song. It worked pretty well, especially since the sermon topic was on social justice.

I think what we tried to do this year was to emphasize the serving nature of who we are called to be; if we have been blessed, we thank God for that blessing and then recognize our responsibility to use that blessing to serve others out of the gifts we've been given.

Regarding Memorial Day, I think what we try to remember is that it's less about nationalism and more about recognizing the character of the people who serve; people who - regardless of one's perspective on the military or politics - have chosen to set their lives on the line for a cause bigger than themselves. It's not about the cause itself, it's about the people and painting that picture in the context of the Kingdom of Heaven.