Wednesday, February 13, 2019

What is worship?

A striking feature of public corporate worship is the performative emphasis. In a traditional worship service (e.g. Anglican), worship is predominantly something you do. Acts of worship, viz., reciting scripture, confession, profession (reciting a creed), praise (singing), prayer, preaching, thanksgiving, baptism, communion. Some of this is corporate, where the congregation acts in unison (singing, reading aloud).

A danger of the performative emphasis is that it can lead to mechanical piety, where the outward expression isn't mirrored by the mind and heart. Where what is said and done lacks a matching attitude of faith and reverence. Where the inner and outer sides don't correspond. 

However, the performative emphasis often has a conditioning effect so the performative and doxastic dimensions are interrelated. And that can go either way. On the one hand, acts of worship may express faith, while on the other hand, acts of worship may foster faith. So they cross-pollinate. 

1 comment:

  1. But isn't the genius of Reformed worship the emphasis on God nourishing us, acting to heal and strengthen us? Feeding us through Word and Sacrament by the agency of the Spirit.