The miracle of worship is that ordinary actions like shaking hands, bowing heads, singing, and speaking words can become vehicles of the presence of God—they are made into prayers, blessing, and instruction. God is willing to take our common actions and words, bless them, and multiply their effects. Similarly, worship incorporates the most ordinary physical elements of our daily lives and elevates them into the architecture of the Kingdom of God. As Christ changed water to wine for a wedding feast and blessed the bread beside the sea and distributed it to the many gathered there, so, in worship, we take water, bread, and wine and declare a new creation.
—William A. Dyrness, A Primer on Christian Worship, 133
Almighty and everlasting God, who art always more ready to hear than we to pray, and art wont to give more than either we desire or deserve: Pour down upon us the abundance of Thy mercy, forgiving us those things whereof our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask, but through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
—The Book of Common Prayer (1979), “Proper 22”
Congregational singing, judged by the norms of our market culture, is an absurd enterprise: a group of intrepid people eagerly lining out poetry filled with archaic images and metaphors reflective of a prescientific worldview and singing ancient memories, hopes, and mysteries that contradict the “reason of the age.” Such singing, when done intentionally, is perfectly countercultural.
—Walter Brueggemann, A Glad Obedience: Why and What We Sing, Kindle Location 123-126
Singing is, by the way of the world, quite “unreasonable” and bears witness to an alternative reality.
—Walter Brueggemann, A Glad Obedience: Why and What We Sing, Kindle Location 174-175
Worship is central to all that we do. And for that reason, our whole life is both a procession toward worship and a procession out of worship. Life is a cycle of constant return to the source of our new life and to the empowerment for life that we receive from the Christ we meet and celebrate in worship.
—Robert E. Webber, Robert, Worship is a Verb: Eight Principles for Transforming Worship, 213
The fuel of worship is a true vision of the greatness of God; the fire that makes the fuel burn white-hot is the quickening of the Holy Spirit; the furnace made alive and warm by the flame of truth is our renewed spirit; and resulting heat of our affections is powerful worship, pushing its way out in confessions, longings, acclamations, tears, songs, shouts, bowed heads, lifted hands and obedient lives.
—John Piper, Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist, 82
Worship in itself does not transform the worshiper or the world; only the Word of God in the power of the Spirit can do this.
—William A. Dyrness, A Primer on Christian Worship, 143