June 24, 2008

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What is Worship? Pastors’ Gathering Explores Worship Issues Worship was the topic of Fuller’s semiannual President’s Breakfast for Pastors held Thursday, November 9, with speakers Todd Johnson and Ed Willmington, both of the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts. More than 100 attended the event in Payton Hall. “What and who is our worship for? Why do we worship?” These must be central questions we ask in our churches, said Todd Johnson, the William K. and Delores S. Brehm Associate Professor of Worship, Theology and the Arts at Fuller. In his talk “Worship Choices: Going Beyond the Categories,” Johnson discussed what we can learn from early church worship history, and then went on to offer pastors some “neutral terms to help you evaluate what you are doing in your worship, and why.” Professor and author Lester Ruth offers three helpful questions we can ask, he said: First, whose story is being told in your worship—God’s story, or the individual’s story of coming to faith? Second, who do you understand your church to be when you worship—one part of the larger corporate church, or a more autonomous, homegrown congregation? And lastly, where do people find God in your church’s worship—in the Word, table, or music? It is helpful to understand who you are as a church and work to strike a balance between these different elements, Johnson said. “A Pastoral Approach to Local Church Worship” was the topic of a second talk given by Ed Willmington, director of the Brehm Center’s Fred Bock Institute of Music. First considering how pastors and worship leaders relate to each other, Willmington emphasized the need for a strong level of trust and communication between the two. When bringing worship leaders and musicians into your church, “look past the talent—look for a servant heart,” he urged, and also noted the importance of providing spiritual support and direction to worship team members. “Who is walking alongside them?” he asked. Moving to the pastor-congregation relationship, Willmington stressed the importance of studying and preaching specifically about worship. Congregants need to understand, he said, that “worship is a verb—something you do, not something that is done to you!” Involving the congregation in worship-centered seminars and formalizing a congregational statement about worship are also helpful practices, he noted. A time for questions and answers with both speakers followed the talks, led by Brehm Center Academic Director Clayton Schmit. “However we conduct our worship,” Schmit said in conclusion, “let us serve the One who is worthy. Then we will be on the right track.”
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Coronatide Liturgy/Litany for disinfecting a cell phone <$MTEntryTrackbackData$> Remove your phone case and power down your device. Mighty God, source of power and love, in these moments when my device powers down, I give you thanks for the power you give to me to serve and the energy to live this life. Remind me to rest when it is time, give me solid sleep. Help me wake with joy. Polish with a microfiber cloth. With this cloth and its small fibers, remind me that each choice I make is like a small fiber, woven into the cloth of my life. Empower my decisions, Lord; help me to be brave and kind, wise and trustworthy. Bind all of us and our choices together into a cloth that makes this world safe for everyone. Next, reach for a branded disinfecting wipe. These wipes are full of weird chemicals, O Lord, and I don’t know how this cloth will bio-degrade. But it is a sign of the wonders of this creation – of materials and inventions, science and industry, and for that I give thanks. Give wisdom to researchers in all fields and help us protect people, planet, and prosperity for all. Let your phone air dry for a minimum of 5 minutes. Lord, you are more wondrous than wifi – you connect us in ways that we cannot see. As my phone dries, I pray for all of my contacts in that phone. Help them to know my affection and respect for them. Reach for a clean paper towel or microfiber cloth. As I reach for supplies, I pray for anyone who lacks what they need. We pray for an end to this Covid crisis but when it resolves, help me to continue to help anyone who is in need, whether in body, mind, or spirit. Finally, clean your phone case. I thank you for this phone case and all the ways that we are protected, from seat belts to social workers, from masks and gloves to advocates for justice. As I prepare to put my phone back into use, put me to use, O Lord, for justice and kindness and hope. Return me and my unique gifts to your service. Amen! ======= Offered by Wendolyn Trozzo, who works as a chaplain in a medical community in Maryland.

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