Stop Press: ‘In Spirit and Truth’ – Saturday 2nd June @ 6:30pm and Sunday 3rd June @ 11am
If you travel around the world, you will find Christians worshipping God in all sorts of different ways. Some worship services are formal, others are informal, some use printed books, others rely on the worshippers’ memory, some use modern music, others sing songs that are unchanged for centuries. I am sure God enjoys this diversity, we only have to look at creation to see that he is infinitely creative.
Most churches in this country take a middle way between formality and informality, the modern and the traditional. We British are known for this; as Oscar Wilde said, “Everything in moderation, including moderation”. At All Saints’ Church, we are no exception, generally we use the Church of England service book published in 2000 called Common Worship, but twice a month the 1662 Book of Common Prayer comes out for Communion and Evensong.
However, sometimes it is good to go back to our roots and see how the first Christians worshipped. When we look in the New Testament we don’t find much in the way of detailed instructions, but we do find just a few interesting snippets. For example, Jesus said to the woman at the well:
“…a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24)
We are to be ‘true worshippers’, i.e. those whose motivation is simply to praise God; and as ‘God is spirit’, we are to allow the Holy Spirit to take the lead.
The Apostle Paul wrote these words to the church in the Greek city of Corinth:
When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. (1 Corinthians 14:26)
This is the only verse in the New Testament that describes the corporate worship of the early church. It implies that we can all be active participants.
At All Saints’ Church we have started some new services which we hope will offer an alternative closer to the New Testament model. Twice a month we will be gathering in the South Chapel of the church building for worship that is more spontaneous and open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. We have called these services ‘In Spirit and Truth’ and they will be led by Steve and Sam Rademan. The dates for the next few months are:
- 6:30pm Saturday 7th July, 11am Sunday 8th July
- 6:30pm Saturday 11th August, 11am Sunday 12th August
- 6:30pm Saturday 1st September, 11am Sunday 2nd September
Do come and join us at these services, or at any of the others (dates and times unchanged).
As Paul also wrote:
Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:19-20)
Team Vicar, All Saints’ Church, Ashdon