John Witvliet had some great stuff to say today about liturgical theology. What I found the most helpful was a comment that he made at the end, saying that the biggest divide in worship today is not between traditional and contemporary, it's between worship that is expressive and worship that is formative. People who say we shouldn't say a prayer of confession unless we mean it, like really mean it, are people who think worship should be expressive of what we're already feeling. And then there are the folks who think that we should say the prayer of confession even when we don't feel like it so we can grow. He said in like five words what I've been trying to tell people about why I made the low-to-higher church hop. Liturgy has words for us to grow into.
The other workshop I really liked was David Rylersdaam's talk about children and the Lord's Supper. He gave a great presentation that was compelling and biblically and theologically sound. If kids are members of the covenant, why deny them participation in the Lord's Supper? I have to admit I remember being and feeling hurt and left out as the grown-ups passed the elements over my head and down the row. This is one thing the CRC should change pronto. The Eastern church has always communed children. In fact, in the case of two of my professor's children, their first solid food was Eucharist. Isn't that just beautiful?
So anyway, after coming from this workshop, I went to the closing Communion service. The Table liturgy included a Q&A session with a child and a pastor about what Communion was for and why we did it. It incidentally made me mad, because that is the format that is used during the Passover meal in the Jewish tradition. Traditionally, the youngest child asks the questions about what the meal means and then they celebrate Passover. What's the difference? In the Jewish tradition, the children, no matter how young, can participate. The CRC, however, does not commune its covenant children until they've made public profession of faith. So why act all kid-friendly when you're not going to commune most of them? This made me ornery enough that I felt that I shouldn't participate. But I don't want that to be my last word, because it really was a beautiful service. I loved the Taize chants, and there was also this really beautiful song from Ireland that brought tears to my eyes.
All in all, it was a good experience. I remembered again how much I love relating worship to the doctrine of the Trinity, I'm even more convinced that the CRC should commune kids, and I can't wait to read my Ken Bailey book. ;)