We Need to Take Worship Seriously!
58 So then, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm and steady. Keep busy always in your work for the Lord, since you know that nothing you do in the Lord’s service is ever useless. 1 Cor. 15:58 GNT
42 He remembered his sacred promise to Abraham his servant. 43 So he led his chosen people out, and they sang and shouted for joy. Ps 105:42–43.
My goals here are to suggest some of the ways in which priests can be pastors and vice versa, to sensitize my fellow pastors to the rich resources for pastoral care within the liturgical life of the church, and to show how insights and skills of the pastoral care disciplines can be of service in the continuing task of liturgical renewal.
Instead, readers will find fresh inspiration to take up again the Scriptures and the practices of the Christian tradition and find in them sufficient hope to finish the race that our Lord and Savior set before us. Hunter does not take us to a final destination, but he equips us for the journey.
As I come to the completion of my formal education at 58 years old, I wonder if the education has been worth it, or if my studies have just driven me mad. My advisor wants to know what academic research I will pursue or encourage next, and yet, I want to return to a focus that is simple, to remind people that God has not forgotten His promises to us, and for those people to then sing and shout for joy.
Not just the people at Concordia, but like Bishop Willimon wrote decades ago, to help pastors and priests see the resources now overlooked in worship. To see worship as not just a way to warm people up and prepare them to be taught, but that worship actively provides the pastor the chance to teach and care for them far deeper than out 15-30 minutes pontificating on some principle or some key to life.
They need to know Jesus, and the Liturgy that is drawn from the Scriptures is a great way to help them walk with Him. (read chapters 2-4 of my dissertation if you doubt me!) These practices weren’t randomly generated by an AI, they came down to us from men who saw their benefit, who compiled them with purpose–that the people of God would experience Christ, from the incarnation through His teaching, His death, His resurrection, through their lives, as they wait for the Second coming.
Is Liturgy the only tool in the toolbox? Is worship the only way to walk with Christ? No, but if the Liturgy is done well… then it can provide a foundation, a place to work from for the entire church. Therefore it is worth the effort, it is worth learning to savor its words like fine bacon wrapped shrimp (or whatever your favorite food is). To live the liturgy in such a way that others hunger for what it is the pipeline for, Jesus, and the grace given to those who depend on Him.
That was what Willimon saw back in the 80’s, and what Bishop Todd Hunter’s new book is supposed to provide. I can recommend both, and a few others, or maybe let me take you out for tea or coffee, and lets’ talk this through…
Lord Jesus, help us to see You as we are gathered with others, that as You are revealed – our soul, our heart and our minds find peace, and joy, and learn to praise You for what You’ve given us…as promised! Amen!
William H. Willimon, Worship as Pastoral Care (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1982).
Esau McCaulley, Foreward, Hunter, Todd D.. What Jesus Intended (p. 3). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.
Posted on July 18, 2023, in Devotional Reading, Worship and tagged hope for the church, Todd Hunter, What Jesus Intended, WIll Willimon, Worship, worship as Pastoral Care. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.