A Penitential… what?
Erin Coleman is on staff at Restoration. She oversees all of our Sunday morning worship life. Here are some of her thoughts on how things will ‘feel’ different during Lent:
We’re coming up on six weeks in to the worship life of Restoration, and I feel like we’re starting to hit our stride. There’s a flow to our worship service. We know who is supposed to do what and when (at least most of the time). Things seem to just move along. We’re finally getting comfortable.
Must be time to change a few things!
Starting this Sunday, you’ll notice some changes to our liturgy, the pattern of our worship service. We’re making these changes because it’s Lent, the season of prayer, fasting, self-examination, and penitence that leads up to Easter. Our service will reflect those emphases. We’ll begin by saying together the ten commandments, and then we’ll move right into the prayer of confession. (There’s nothing like the ten commandments to make me aware of my sin and the need to confess!) And we don’t get to say “alleluia” again until Easter.
There will be other changes, too. We’ll say the Apostles Creed instead of the Nicene Creed. We’ll use a different version of the Eucharistic prayer in the Great Thanksgiving. We do these things mostly as a reminder that Lent is a unique season in the church year. We’re used to our lives being shaped by the differences in the physical seasons. The changes to our liturgy can serve as a reminder of how our lives can also be shaped by the different seasons of the church year.
It will probably feel a little bit weird at first. Inevitably, we’ll mess up. Someone will forget which version of the prayer of confession we’re supposed to say. Someone will start off the Nicene Creed. Undoubtedly, I’ll add an “alleluia” after the service’s final “Thanks be to God!” It will all be a little discombobulating.
But I think this is a good thing. Feeling a little off-balance in our worship can be a powerful reminder of our dependence on God, and of how our worship is about God and not about us and how well we do it. It’s also a reminder of how big God is—of how no worship container that we make can ever encompass His glory. Above all, I hope it will lead us all back to God’s grace, to the renewed knowledge that all that we have and all that we are—even our worship—comes from Him.
I’m looking forward to journeying through this season of Lent with you.
February 27, 2009 @ 1:54 pm
Hopefully that idiot guitar player won’t start early again….
February 27, 2009 @ 3:31 pm
Great words Erin. Thank you.
March 1, 2009 @ 10:06 pm
I agree with Kristen, Erin. This is such a good post. Thank you.
March 1, 2009 @ 10:11 pm
One more thing: Has there been any thought to adding some regular prayer for people in their vocations? For instance, for someone who has a big Something coming up at work? for a mom who’s anticipating a change in the household (new baby, a move, etc.)? for So-and-so in IT consulting, for Susie Que in her practice of the law, for John, a teacher, etc. We might not want to identify exactly what the event or issue is, particularly. God has such a vested Kingdom interest in what He’s given us to do and how we undertake it. This is in direct relation to what you and Steve Garber spoke about last week: telos and praxis. “You are the Christ— what are the implications for how i treat this difficult client in this Tuesday’s meeting?”
I’m not suggesting this as a Lenten idea, really, —more as an ongoing thing.
March 2, 2009 @ 3:19 pm
I think it’s a great idea, Anne, to be intentionally lifting up all of our vocations to God in our corporate prayer. In fact, one of the forms of the Prayers of the People includes a prayer “for all people in their daily life and work”–which suggests what you’re talking about, but doesn’t really capture the full idea that God calls each of us to be doing the work of kingdom-building in whatever contexts we find ourselves.
Let’s be thinking–and experimenting–about how we can best do this at Restoration…
March 2, 2009 @ 6:34 pm
At least short term we can include those things in 1) Sunday prayers of the people, which are obviously public. For now I (email@example.com) collect Sunday PotP requests and forward them to the person assigned to a particular Sunday. 2) Intercessory prayer. More private in that requests go out via email, weekly, in theory, but don’t have that down to a routine yet. I agree with Erin, GREAT thing to be thinking and experimenting with, Anne!