Sunday, October 16, 2005

A WEEK WITH ROBERT WEBBER- day 6


ROBERT WEBBER ON THE "YOUNGER EVANGELICALS AND WORSHIP" :

Their approach to worship is an embodied reality. My sense is that they’re still pretty much all over the map in terms of worship. But one of the things that they’re really trying to do in worship is create a sense of transcendence. If you look at worship over the last 30 years, the movement has been primarily the nearness of God, the immanence of God, the friendship of Jesus, the relationship and even a lot of romantic terminology in contemporary music about a relationship with God. The Younger Evangelicals are sick of that stuff. They just think it’s shallow, not really real — all this romantic stuff about their relationship with Jesus. And they’re beginning to see God more on the side of God’s holiness, God’s otherness, God’s transcendence. They’re trying to create an atmosphere that allows for that. What are big with Younger evangelicals are candles, icons — they will either use real icons, or they will flash icons on the walls of the church. There’s a recovery of hymnology, there’s a recovery of liturgy.

I’ll give you an example that’s just a week old. The chaplain from my Institute for Worship Studies, which is down in Florida, called me with this story. The staff of a well-known contemporary gospel singer and writer called him and asked him to come every two weeks to do liturgy with them and be on staff to counsel anyone who needs counseling. So they sat him down and said, “Even though we write contemporary stuff, we hate it. When you do chapel, no contemporary songs, please. We don’t know what you’re going to do, but no contemporary stuff.”

The Institute is very much rooted in ancient traditions, so he translated what we do in our chapel, and did the first liturgy with them last week. He did the passing of the peace, some ancient hymnology, and even on the prayers, they would pray, and they would sing together [he sings] “Lord have mercy.” He said, “Blew them away.” That’s the kind of thing the younger person is attracted to, and some older people, too. They’re so sick of wearing your relationship with Jesus on your sleeve.

3 comments:

Zoomdaddy said...

As Mr. Miyago so wisely said, "Balance, Daniel-san." Transcendence and immanence cannot be treated as a pendulum swing, because God is both. I'm not merely in love with my buddy Jesus. I do not simply extol the virtues of the Ineffable One. I savor the God of my Salvation.

Andy B. said...

If you can substitute the word "Sweetie" for the word "Jesus" in the song and the song still makes sense, it's just wrong.
SWAK,
Andy B.

Steve said...

Part of me says, "This is great! Its time that young adults are discovering the tradition of the Church's worship." However, another side of me is reacting with caution. It seems that the center of worship, even though ancient hymns and prayers are sung and prayed, remains upon the feelings and experience of the worshipers. They do it because its different, it feels good, its cool. I'll get excited when the church begins to worship God for God's sake and for God's glory, rather than its own.

Thanks for the post Jonathan.