Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Church of the Redeember Worship Service

So comments on Sunday night.

The Church of the Redeemer service itself was a nice change from the typical "low church" setting I usually get at Otter Creek. It started off with responsive readings and singing with the congregation. One thing I did like was that the band and "praise team" were upstairs in the balcony, reducing the distraction to the congregation. There were readings from the Old Testament, New Testament, and the Gospels. Father Thomas McKenzie preached the sermon. All of that was pretty standard and fairly familiar to Otter Creek.

Some significant differences that I liked: There was a time for prayer, during which Father Thomas opened up the floor for prayers from the congregation. Anyone could call out a praise or request at any time. Some were obviously prepared ahead of time and others were off the cuff. One thing it did was really give a sense of community, even in a group of 250.

There was also a time for confession of sin. It was done privately and an absolution of sorts was given by Father Thomas. That seemed a little strange to me, but I didn't dwell on it. The really cool thing was that after the confession, the congregation greeted each other and just this great sound of joy of conversation came from the floor.

Communion was also different in that we all went down front in groups and stood in a semicircle. Father Thomas brought around the wafer of bread and a layperson brought a chalice of wine from which you could drink or dip your wafer into it (which I did). People then went back to their seats and others came up in shifts. It was another time of community among the whole congregation.

We closed out by reading from the Nicene Creed. I know Churches of Christ reject creeds pretty much wholesale, but I've always liked this one, because it so clearly states the basics of orthodox Christian faith.

All in all, I enjoyed it and found it strangely comforting to be a part of a congregation that was doing the same thing that other congregations all around the world were doing. Different, but good different. Tomorrow (or whenever I post next), I'll talk about some things that I felt a little uncomfortable with.


Adam said...

I find liturgical traditions facinating. After hearing that they were practicing "vain repitition" for my entire life, I have found that there are some powerful aspects to liturgy which can actually strengthen community and focus.


Adam said...

I tried to post a comment earlier, but it didn't save for some reason. I am facinated by liturgical traditions. While our tradition (C of C) has reacted against such traditions, they seem to have a decidedly positive effect in giving people a sense of community and maintaining focus.

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