06 August 2009

The Bible in church

The other big thing that has helped our new-found fascination with Scripture around here is that we have enjoyed worshiping with a church that promotes and expects one's actual, physical usage of the Bible in worship, Sunday School, Children's Church, as well as meetings.

This is new for us. We have grown up in, attended (Dennis), and pastored (me) churches that were fairly lectionary-based. The sermons were based on a lection or two, or maybe even four, but generally stuck to those readings only. Sermons typically did not reference other scriptures and line-by-line studies in worship are generally not employed by my colleagues in ministry.

The church we've been attending begins with a call to worship from the Bible, sets up the prayer with a passage, has us flipping back and forth all over scripture during a sermon, and then closes with a Scriptural benediction. I know that for some, this is distracting, but Dennis and I find it sort of thrilling.

The kids are also taught Bible stories exclusively in Sunday School and Children's Church. We've been amazed at the detail with which Annalivia recounts (and Daniel echoes Annalivia) the story of Lydia helping Paul or Paul and Silas bringing down the prison walls or just one leper/ leopard :) returning to thank Jesus, etc. The kids begin every class with a reading from the big-person's Bible. In a few weeks, the church will have a little ceremony and present Bibles to the first graders, since all of them can read and all of them remain in the church service instead of going off to Children's Church. They'll be able to participate with the adults in Bible-reading during worship, and from what I have observed, they do!

Again, all of these may not seem like big things, but for us, such practices have been absolutely liberating. And I mean that in all senses of the word. We feel free in a way we've just not experienced before.

I personally think it has everything to do with the presence and elevation of the Word of God.

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