Monday, May 12, 2008

The Most Difficult Task

"You've got to be kidding me!" That's what I keep exclaiming to myself in the mirror. When it comes to church worship (how a church expresses adoration, devotion, allegiance, loyalty and submission to God through its various forms through music, communion, art, etc.), I keep coming back to the "incarnational paradigm" of ministry given to us when Jesus Christ took on flesh and became "God with us." As a result, he is not only our Savior and Lord, but our model of ministry as well. However, the incarnational approach is the most difficult task as it relates to some functions of the church. Few areas feel this more than in the area of a church's worship expressions.

If a church pursues the incarnational approach, it feels the simultaneous mandates to both (1) express the holiness of God in how he calls his church to be a peculiar and separate people, and (2) express the relevance of God in how he took on human flesh, culture and language in the person of Jesus Christ. Most church seems to pursue one of these over the other. They strive to be either predominantly rooted to the great traditions of the church, or predominantly relevant to the current times; to express the holiness God calls his people to, or the "earthiness" his people are called to; to be either more "in the world," or more "not of the world." Maintaining the tension of the two is definitely the most difficult task.

Is it even possible? Or is it foolhardy to continuously attempt it? Or is it more that such an seemingly impossible task is exactly what the church is called to?

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