Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Christian Worship Lingo

I had a good conversation with a friend yesterday about the teaching implicit in different liturgical styles. For example, in some churches, the "worship band" is illumined by stage lights in an otherwise dark auditorium. In the context of Christian worship, the implication is that the band are objects of veneration.

Seriously. Otherwise, why would it be important to see them? This is improper, and you should all stop it at once.

In other congregations, however, the worship band/music team/whathaveyou doesn't have a script. They don't talk. The entire congregation has a script it follows as it learns to talk to God the Father along with Jesus, who is the real "lead worshipper."

And of course, when my own parish meets in a place with fancy lights, we illumine the altar, because that is the dramatic focus of the entire movement. And yes, you may venerate it if you wish.

4 comments:

Jeremy said...

There are times when I feel like writing a book on Christian worship practices. Many have already beat me to the punch.

The whole Christian "rock-n-roll" worship band is something that I am guilty of having participated in at Gtown. Towards the end of my time there I began to feel really really dirty.

#Debi said...

I've been a part of the "praise and worship team" also, as you know. I can remember having dreams (they may have been prophetic, who knows...) about it all being in Vegas, and being asked to perform show-type choreography (in the dream, that is). Eventually, I was convicted that the P&W at that church was more performance than worship, and I stepped down from the team.

Josh said...

I can say this with some certainty: I have never been guilty of venerating a Christian band. ;)

Mr. Imperial said...

That's one of the things that drew us to St. Pat's. The musicians stand to the side of the altar, and we continue to face the altar as they lead us in singing. There's no "stage." There's the host, and we are participating in worship.

In one of the first "ministry" courses I took during undergrad, I remember being fascinated by the development of ecclesial architecture over time. We know how orthodox structures work, but it's fascinating to watch the transition during Protestant development...the pulpit is elevated over the altar, and eventually the pulpit takes center-stage. Now, the pulpit sits about in the middle, as long as it doesn't crowd out the band, who now takes center stage. What are we saying about ecclesiology when a drum set takes a more prominent position over the host (and remember, this is coming from a drummer)?