Sunday, May 16, 2010

word of mission: a forgotten Uniting church treasure?

Over the weekend I discovered (thanks to Stephen Burns, who was a wonderful breath of fresh air in my attempts to understand the practice of mainline worship) what I think is a forgotten Uniting church treasure. In Uniting in Worship 2, the official book that guides Uniting worship, is a pattern for worship. The pattern is four-fold:

  • Gathering – including welcome and prayers of praise and confession
  • Word – including Scripture reading, preaching and prayers for others
  • Table – communion
  • Sending

The final section – Sending – is divided into a song, a benediction and this thing called “Word of mission.” This “Word of mission”, according to the book, could be a verse of Scripture, a sentence or a brief charge to the people.

I’ve never heard this, in all the Uniting services I’ve been part of. I wonder why I’ve not heard it. I wonder if it is just me, or if it’s fallen out of favour in general across the denomination. I wonder if it’s neglect says something about Uniting church life.

But what a gift, a moment when the people of God pause and prepare themselves for service in God’s world. It has all sorts of creative possibilities
– sharing in 2’s
– photos of the community which one is going to
– sounds of the world outside the church walls
– a litany of the places God is calling us to
– summing up the all that has gone before in the service in light of mission
– being recorded/journalled and then reflected on by leaders in terms of what God is saying in mission

Indeed, a forgotten treasure.

Posted by steve at 07:52 PM