A few days ago I read a blog post from Fr. Robert Hendrickson, friend and colleague, Curate at Christ Church New Haven, and developer of the new and wonderful ministries of St. Hilda’s House, Ascension House, and Church of the Ascension in the Hill district of New Haven. In his blog entry, we spoke about the centrality of worship as the hallmark of Anglican Christianity and the Church’s experience. From his blog entry:
I have found that this exercise has emphasized that which we have
always struggled with as Anglicans – uniformity of belief. Throughout
our history we have navigated the Catholic and Reformed strains and
struggled with the melding of politics and religion. Through all of
this, we have maintained our identity through common worship. We have
prayed together, broken bread together, and listened to one another with
a common language, with a common prayer.
It may sound nonsensical or naive but I truly think the most crucial
task for the Church is not growth, justice, discipleship, survival, nor
restructuring. The most crucial task facing the Church is worship.
Please read his entry at his blog, The Curate’s Desk
This morning, I thought it might be interesting to see how Eugene Peterson (pastor, scholar, writer, and poet) wrote a couple particular chapters in the book of the Bible known as the Revelation (you know, that strange, last book of Holy Writ) in his version of the Bible known as “The Message”. Upon reading his short introduction on Revelation, I was reminded of Fr. Hendrickson’s blog post above on worship.
Worship shapes the human community in response to the living God. If worship is neglected or perverted, our communities fall into chaos or under tyranny.
Our times are not propitious for worship. The times never are. The world is hostile to worship. The Devil hates worship. As The Revelation makes clear, worship must be carried out under conditions decidedly uncongenial to it. Some Christians even get killed because they worship.
We are wise if we heed such instruction and insight from both.