Faithful worship begins with the Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and is embodied by God’s people in community. This community is constituted by the work of the Spirit that sweeps through and binds disparate peoples, cultures, and values together through the baptismal waters. The people do not worship alone. Christ stands among his people as they worship, bringing together all the human family, earth, imagination, beauty, and the totality of the cosmos into those sacred and mysterious moments of wonder near font and table.
Faithful worship recognizes the powerful but hollow draw of empire that looms around the Christly community. It discerns the rituals and liturgies of empire that attempt to subvert Christ’s call to singular allegiance to the reign of shalom. It firmly rejects empire while explicitly naming the divine Kingdom to which humanity is called and for which its sovereign died.
Faithful worship cherishes the work of the communion of saints in their stewardship of the ancient liturgy formed by Scripture and contextualized by each generation in Word and Table. It does not neglect one for the other, but proclaims and hears the Word of God – that is, Jesus – and feasts at Christ’s Table as two indispensable and necessary parts of each other.
Faithful worship works to craft the liturgy in the language of its own context and tradition, in which the church is gathered by God from the ends of the earth, tells again and again the story of divine liberation and restoration, shares with great thanksgiving a foretaste of the Kingdom’s banquet at Christ’s table, and is sent by the Spirit into the world to help realize the dream of shalom.
Faithful worship sings, not to fill time or build hype, or for escape or ecstasy, or for entertainment or pleasure, but simply because Christ is singer and song, and the same divine breath that flows in and out of Christ passes over our lips in joyful solidarity.
Faithful worship is neither static nor impulsive, but long and ordinary and mysterious and wonder-filled. Like faith, it is a discipline nurtured over our lifetimes and beyond, stretching back into the lives of our mothers and grandmothers and forward into the lives of our children and grandchildren.
Faithful worship does not seek innovation or creativity for the purpose of making the experience meaningful; instead, it is steadfast in practicing the faith of Christ that brings new life and creates a new world in which there is fullness of meaning and purpose. It cannot be reduced to the measure of our experience. No, we must be enlarged into the fullness of its potential as the meeting-place of creator and created.
Faithful worship is the sacred dance of grace: sung, prayed, proclaimed, seen, tasted, felt, heard, shared, and embodied, for the sake of our hurting world.