The low tonight is supposed to be 5! Brrrr!!! Winter is certainly here! And I don't have enough blankets on my bed. Can I just sleep in a sawna or something?
I have not finished my reading for tomorrow. I could probably stay awake in the cold and do it, but I'm very tired. For now, a few reflections on what I've done so far..
For tomorrow's class, I'm reading the first eleven chapters of Robert Webber's book, Worship Old and New. It's a fascinating book. It begins with a discussion of the problems creating a need for worship renewal: particularly an "antihistorical bias"; an emphasis on either rationalism, emotionalism, or entertainment; and loss of balance among priorities. He notes that the church should be involved in worship, teaching, mission, fellowship, healing, and service but that often churches overemphasize a particular area to the detriment of others. He then moves on to discuss worship in the Old and New Testaments and various historical periods, emphasizing the first six centuries and the Reformation period. I've made it to chapter 7 so far, and I'll read the rest in the morning--unless I'm an insomniac tonight.
He has a neat quote at the beginning...
We will begin by defining worship in its broadest sense as a "meeting between God and His people." In this meeting God becomes present to His people, who respond with praise and thanksgiving. Thus, the worshiper is brought into personal contact with the one who gives meaning and purpose to life; from this encounter the worshiper receives strength and courage to live with hope in a fallen world. (pp. 11-12)
I've seen worship defined in many ways. The trouble is the attempt to distinguish the act of worship from the time of worship. Is worship something we do or something we attend? Is it something we act, or is God active toward us in the time of worship? Often I hear things like, "You don't come to worship to receive from God. You come to give worship to God." I've always thought that was a bunch of craziness. Certainly, we don't come in order to use God like a vending machine; but if we don't come in order to ask something of God--and ask because we hope to receive--then we may as well leave off praying for healings or anything else we desire during this time. There apparently must be some other time that is more appropriate--some other time that is "not worship time." If that sounds silly, it's because it is! That's why I like the quote!
I've been having a great deal of difficulty retaining what I read. A lot of it is because I am sick. Some of it is because something is just different about my frame of mine lately. I'm not sure what that is. I thought that if I write about it, perhaps I will retain it. Last semester, I talked about some of my learning material with Alexis and found that this helped me to remember things. So I'm going to try dumping some of it here. It will go behind cuts in case people don't want to read it. My more "in-depth" stuff will still go to sjbtheology. Anyone is welcome to read and friend there.