Thursday, April 16, 2009

Discourse on Worship with a Good Friend

I'm still wrestling with how to best understand and communicate worship. What follows is a transcript from a recent text-messaging conversation with a close friend and fellow thinker/saint/artist:

HIM: I have another "R" for you. Revelation, REFLECTION, response. Think about it. Miss you.

ME: I like it. reflection should be implied within response, but I like the idea of being more explicit. Response is sometimes thought of as being mindless, like a reflex. Good.

HIM: Now you can effectively teach it because it is "threefold." haha [Editor's note: I am infamous for trying to shove ideas into threes. He is rightly making fun of me here.]

ME: And alliterative! (Editor's note: I also think alliteration is neccessary in all situations of life.]

HIM: It is implied, but I think it is important to note a periond of realizing that God is revealing Himself AND realizing that something must be done because of it, which leads you to a response. Haha. That's my Easter present for you.

ME: I agree, as long as the recognition is under the banner of response. The idea is that, like Jesus, we do nothing until the Father reveals. Christlike worship. Recognition is certainly the first response, though.

HIM: It's trinitarian in that none of them can BE without the other two. God's always revealing Himself; we are always responding. It only becomes worship when we recopgnize that it is in fact God's revelation and recognize the proper and holy response. We might not agree on this because I'm not as calvinist as you.

ME: You must agree that God was displaying His love before and without need of our response to it. He can BE without us. P.S. I'm not as calvinist as I am either.

HIM: Haha. I agree with that, but it seems that God needs something to reveal Himself to. He doesn't need us, but His revelation does.

ME: That's the ole' "if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it does it make a sound?" problem. [Editor's note: remind me to blog about that sometime. I think I have a good thought on this one.]

HIM: It is nit-picky, but that's what we do. Haha.

ME: It's a debate well worth having. I do agree that PROPER response is a must, and that does require reflection. But I do not think our part in worship is as important as His.

HIM: Well of course not. The only true trinity is THE trinity. God is revelation, but within the context of worship He needs something to worship Him. Without it, he is unworshipped glory.

ME: If we do not, even the rocks will cry out. While I do very much like your distinction that reflection is the key difference between worship and selfish existence, the idea that God somehow lacks something without us is a bit on the icky side of liberal for me. (There certainly is a non-icky side of liberalism too. It's called freedom and compassion.)

HIM: Yeah, I agree. I guess it's only dependent from the bride's side.

ME: Well said.


John David Walt said...

Josh-- i like this dialogue-- only i would challenge it on its pneumatology. lots of talk about the Trinity, but nothing really about the Holy Spirit.


CSigler said...

I think the Holy Spirit is implied within the reflection...My understanding is that the three "R"s are:


RECOGNITION (through REFLECTION as Josh put it)- A work of the Holy Spirit through Reason, tradition, scripture, and personal experience [Wesleyan quadrilateral]

RESPONSE-which is from the Bride (and can be both worship of God by acting on His will, or sinful if we respond within our own will)

God is only truly able to RESTORE us when we respond within His will. It seems amazing that all these "R" words are all lining up (restoration, reflection, rebirth, resurrection, etc.) but really it comes from the "RE-" at the beginning of each word. It comes from the Latin prefix that means AGAIN. Basically all things made new...Revelation 21:5