The First Four

The first four commandments of the Decalogue still provide the foundation for biblical patterns of worship. First, the worship of God’s people is exclusively for Yahweh alone (Exodus 20:2-3). Second, the worship of Israel’s God is to be free from the use of idols, any representation of Yahweh that is like anything in creation. Third, the worship of God’s people is to shape the integrity of those who are called by God’s name. They are to bear the divine name carefully and reverently use the divine name only in ways that honor Yahweh (Exodus 20:7). And fourth, holiness is grounded in how God’s people “remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy.” To work six days and “cease” (the literal meaning of the Hebrew word for sabbath) working on every seventh day was meant to help Israel reenact the very rhythm of God’s work and celebrate a “holiday,” a holy day, in the ordering of creation itself (Ex. 20:8-11). Trusting God with time to work and time to rest is foundational to the pattern of holiness that His people were to make evident.

—Robbie F. Castleman, Robbie F.  Story Shaped Worship: Following Patterns from the Bible and History, 44-45

Advertisements

God’s Story

How difficult it is today to recognize the centrality of God’s story in the life of the Christian and the church. This difficulty comes from the personalizing and privatizing of individual experience, the inroads made by marketing models for congregational programming, and supremacy of the idea of the “right” to preferential choice in the relative autonomy of life in the twenty-first century. Part of keeping God’s story central is recognizing how easily we elevate the importance of our own experience at the cost of community, kingdom and even the cross of Christ.

—Castleman, Robbie F.  Story Shaped Worship: Following Patterns from the Bible and History, 186-7.

Love with Feet

Evangelicals often sing contemporary songs and choruses that celebrate the love of God but without reference to how God has shown this love in time and space. Subjective sentimental lyrics that reflect a generic affection toward a loving divine being are inappropriate for Christian worship. Hymns and songs that are purely subjective reflections of an undefined, disembodied divine affection unattached from the historical reality of the faith should be eliminated or at least minimized and given context in some way. 

—Robbie F. Castleman, Story Shaped Worship: Following Patterns from the Bible and History, 198.

Keeping God’s Story Central

How difficult it is today to recognize the centrality of God’s story in the life of the Christian and the church. This difficulty comes from the personalizing and privatizing of individual experience, the inroads made by marketing models for congregational programming, and supremacy of the idea of the “right” to preferential choice in the relative autonomy of life in the twenty-first century. Part of keeping God’s story central is recognizing how easily we elevate the importance of our own experience at the cost of community, kingdom and even the cross of Christ.

—Robbie F. Castleman, Story Shaped Worship: Following Patterns from the Bible and History, 186-7

Right Things for the Wrong Reason

The idea of displeasing God through the very practices he commanded cuts to both the seriousness and the subtlety of hypocrisy. Doing the right things for the wrong reason and without dependence on the mediation of God is rejected by God in both worship and mission.

—Robbie F. Castleman, Story Shaped Worship: Following Patterns from the Bible and History, 119

Not Our Story

Biblically shaped worship is a powerful way to remind ourselves that although we are beloved by God, we’re not really the star of our own story. Only in union with Christ by the Spirit are we the children of God and brothers and sisters in the community of faith. 

—Robbie F. Castleman, Story Shaped Worship: Following Patterns from the Bible and History, 203-4

Michael Lindvall describes worship as “weekly practice at not being God.”

—Nathan Bierma, “Worshipful Service”  http://www.perspectivesjournal.org/2006/06/essay-service.html