Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Reading the Bible Aloud in Gathered Worship 2.0

"Reading the Bible aloud is always central to Christian worship. Cutting back on this for whatever reason--trimming readings so that the service doesn't go on too long, changing scripture passages so that they become merely part of a musical performance, or reading only the few verses the preacher intends to preach about--misses the point. The reason we read scripture in worship isn't primarily to inform or remind the congregation about some biblical passage or theme they have forgotten. Likewise, its much more than a peg to hang a sermon on, though preaching from one or more of the readings is often a wise plan. Reading scripture in worship is, first and foremost, the central way of celebrating who God is and what he's done.

....Just as you're insulting a good wine if you drink it from a plastic cup instead of a glass which shows off its color, bouquet, and full flavor, so you're insulting the Bible if, given the opportunity, you don't create a context in which it can be heard and celebrated as what it really is: the rehearsal of the powerful deeds of God the creator and rescuer."

N.T. Wright, Simply Christian, 150, 151.

6 comments:

corey thomas said...

or how about this one, "don't read more than one or two verses because the people just won't understand. They will loose interest too quickly."
What a sad commentary. And this statement comes from a Pastor!

Jonathan Dodson said...

i thought of you when i read that section in simply xn. however, i felt like wright was pushing his tradition too much. Sure, Scripture should be central and read, but how much, how often, and in what manner is relatively a matter of choice not principle...

Josh said...

Introducing change, even needed biblical change, is not an overnight thing. I'll email you Bob Kauflin's article on introducing change in your church. It's helped me a ton.

Yeah, Wright does sell the Anglican liturgy a bit, but I don't think he over did it at all. He doesn't absolutize the lectionary. The amount of Scripture that is read during an average Anglican service puts most free churches to shame. There's even an apostolic command for the public reading of Scripture in 1 Tim. 4:13.

That said there is great freedom on HOW we read Scripture, but not THAT we do. Next week we'll be doing a dramatic reading where there'll be 5 people reading in a variety of unison and harmonic readings. It's quite powerful. We're also exploring how to incorporate video and Scripture too.

How are you planning to "pay attention to the public reading of SCripture" at Austin City Life?

Marc said...

Dude, why am I not on the "friends" list? Was I demoted or something?

Josh said...

Marc,
So sorry man. Unintentional demotion. I just updated my template and haven't put all my links, etc. back in. How's parenting? Zechariah is 4 months old already!!

DAO said...

josh, hope all is well. heard you & dave had some good hangs. hope to catch up soon...

@ the church i am candidating at one sunday i read the entire first chapter of the bible...and while i was reading really felt like these folks can't handle 26 verses, yet can sit for hours, no problem, watching tv...or knitting! love to read the kauflin article...send it to coramdeo978@yahoo.com.
headed to soulfest this week...should be interesting. God in His amazing providence got me in to speak.
check out: http://www.thesoulfest.com/2008/soulfest/university.php
chick on the names for seminar info

best to the O crew!
dannyO