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Some places where my principles differ from NCRC expectations

Some of my principles for worship differ from what Nobleford CRC in general is used to and expects. Here are a couple of examples of places where preservationists would have a difficult time with my way of leading worship.

We would all say a focus on Scripture and gospel and God is primary. But what that means and how that comes to pass differs.

Whereas the past pattern was that a section of scripture is taken and a serious, clinical, science-like exposition of that scripture is made in which doctrine and theology are brought out of it to feed the minds of the listeners, I believe that scripture is not a frog to be dissected to increase our knowledge about how the frog used to be alive, but a narrative, a grand on-living story, to be lived into rather than observed from a distance or studied in a laboratory.

Our Good Friday service is then an example of those principles worked into a service. A version of scripture was used that emphasized it’s story aspect and uses very familiar language. Symbols are brought in and explained, as are symbolic actions like the hiding of bread. All ages are deliberately engaged into the events and the story and it’s meaning, not only through explanation, but by questions being welcomed and answered. Plenty of opportunity is given for people to identify with Christ’s suffering. Those opportunities take people into the realm of feeling, rather than only thinking, and so we end up fully moved by the experience.

Whereas the past pattern was that worship was solemn and cerebral, where mainly the believers mind was to be engaged with the Word, I believe it is legitimate for the whole body to be engaged, and not necessarily to be kept still and non-responsive. I believe I can justify that scriptural, primarily from the Psalms. The solemn approach is from a time when God was kept at a distance, because he was so powerful and dangerous. And there is truth to that. God is powerful and dangerous, and just like you would not mess with a power transformer station for the reality you might get electrocuted, God is not to be triffled with either. But if the electricity only stayed in the transformer station, we would also not be experiencing the benefits it brings either. That powerful God chose in the past to come and walk beside us as a teacher and companion and friend. So we can think of God as friend, and speak of God in companion language, not just in language that keeps God distant and locked in the transformer station.

Those are just two main areas where I see my principles for worship and leadership, which I believe to be scriptural and Reformed, are somewhat jolting to those who still hold to the other values.

 

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