Worship Is A Verb: Eight Principles For Transforming Worship Essay Example

The title of this book, Worship is a Verb, might suggest that it is the major premise of the book. Indeed, in the first chapter Webber lays out his contention that worship is a verb – something we are to be doing. He continues to come back to this thought throughout the book. Description of the Book Chapter 1, Winds of Change The author begins the book with his personal frustration with worship and his perception that there is a widespread shift in thinking concerning worship.

He lists five new insights he has had concerning worship and eight principles of worship. The author expands on these eight principles in the next nine chapters. Chapter 2 covers the first principle that “worship celebrates Christ” (Webber, 2004, p. 21). Webber tries to lay out the Biblical basis for worship in this chapter. This chapter is mostly theoretical, but does include one illustration of how Webber sees a proper worship time unfolding. Chapter 3 talks about the second principle that “worship tells and acts out the Christ-Event” (Webber, 2004, p. 43). In this chapter Webber talks about the historical order of worship.

Chapter 4 talks about the third principle, “In Worship God Speaks and Acts” (Webber, 2004, p. 65). Webber says that God speaks through the Word and acts through the Bread and Wine (pp. 71-80). Chapter 5 is on principle four – “Worship is an act of communication” (Webber, 2004, p. 85). Webber talks about the communication of the primary symbols, the Word and Table, and of the secondary symbols, which include personal preparation, the Preparation and Dismissal movements of worship, and body language. Chapter 6 covers the fifth principle which is, “In worship we respond to God and each other” (Webber, 2004, p. 109).

Webber talks about how we respond to God Himself, God’s actions, and the specific. He spends some time talking about images and their use in worship as well as giving examples of how people respond in worship. Chapter 7 discusses Webber’s sixth principle of worship that we should return worship to the people. Webber talks about worship being a meeting between God and His people, suggesting that there is dialogue in this meeting. He also suggests the participation of every person in worship will help restore the concept of the priesthood of all believers. He also talks about the tension between order and freedom in worship.

In this chapter Webber includes a large section that contains suggestions and examples of how individuals can participate in worship. Chapters 8 and 9 both deal with the seventh principle of worship – “All creation joins in worship” (Webber, 2004, p. 156). Chapter 8 is devoted to the discussion of time as a vehicle of worship. Webber spends some time talking about the church year and its importance in worship. Chapter 9 discusses using space, sound, and the arts as vehicles of worship. Chapter 10 covers the final principle of worship that says worship should be a way of life.

This chapter is divided into sections on “worship and prayer”, “worship and the family”, “worship and work”, “worship and social action”, and “worship and evangelism” (Webber, 2004, pp. 205- 213). The book ends with a short epilogue in which Webber includes practical suggestions on how to implement the principles and suggestions of his book into one’s church. He advocates a slow process of changing worship practices so that the congregation will see the benefits instead of rejecting the changes without understanding why there might be need for a change.

A bibliography includes a number of sources about worship that would be beneficial to the person wanting to study more about worship. Practical Application Webber begins this book by discussing his personal frustration with worship that can be easily understood by those who have also felt they don’t really worship in the worship service. Webber’s personal tone throughout the book is engaging and makes you feel at times like you are sitting in a living room having a heart-to-heart discussion with the author.

The reader, however, must read a significant amount of the book before finding very practical suggestions or tips on how to organize worship according to the model that Webber suggests. The chapters on the first two principles are especially theoretical and at times unclear. Chapter three does include a list of eight elements that are part of the Preparation phase of worship. This list on page 46 provides a good outline of how the Preparation phase might be conducted for the person wishing to follow Webber’s model of worship.

However, Webber states at the end of this chapter his reticence in telling the reader how to act out the three or four parts of worship (2004, p. 61). As one who comes from a tradition in which Communion is observed infrequently, I did find Webber’s discussion on this aspect of worship on pages 75 through 80 to be helpful in my understanding of this important Christian sacrament. Webber becomes extremely practical in chapter 5 as he offers a number of suggestions about how to make the Word and Table aspects of the worship service to be more meaningful.

Throughout the book, but especially in the latter part, Webber gives illustrations of how churches have worshiped or might worship according to the pattern he lays out. He argues that this pattern allows for freedom and can be adapted to wide variety of worship styles. Despite this assertion, it appears that Webber is basically advocating a certain style of worship. While I found several thoughts concerning different aspects of worship to be helpful, Webber’s basic thesis is quite restrictive, requiring that true or Biblical worship re-enacts Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. Personal Evaluation

The major thesis of Worship is a Verb is that Biblical worship is a re-enactment of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. Therefore, this primary assertion must be true for the rest of the book to hold together. Webber says that “the content of Old Testament worship is determined by the Exodus-event, while the content of New Testament worship is determined by the Christ-event” (2004, p. 28). Webber then notes three parallels between the Exodus and the Christ-event. He points that Christ reveals himself as God revealed Himself to the Israelites through Moses’ message of deliverance.

He talks about how Exodus was a redemption of Israel from the oppression of her enemies and was commemorated by the yearly Passover. Similarly, Christ’s death on the Cross provides us redemption from sin. After the Exodus, God created himself a people as He and the Israelites entered a covenantal agreement at Mt. Sinai. Similarly, Jesus, who is the New Covenant, has created himself a people, the Church of God. The problem, however, is that Webber fails to prove that Old Testament worship actually recreated the Exodus-event. Yes, the Israelites celebrated the Passover yearly, but there is nothing to suggest they did so on a weekly basis.

Furthermore, while Webber says that the worship of early church re-enacted Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, he does not demonstrate that they actually did. This failure creates an uncertainty in the reader as to how much he can trust the writer, regardless of the fact of how well respected as an authority on worship he may have been considered. One of Webber’s main New Testament references to the Biblical pattern for worship is Acts 2:42, which talks about the early church’s devotion to teaching and preaching, as well as the “breaking of bread. ” Webber draws from this scripture the orders of the Word and Table.

He states that the Preparation and Dismissal were added over time. Unfortunately, he does not include any kind of documentation. It is also unclear how these orders of Word and Table necessarily reenact Christ’s life, death, and resurrection in the worship service. Yes, Christ’s life, death, and resurrection were remembered in the observance of the Lord’s Supper, yet it is a supposition to say that the early church re-enacted Christ’s life, death, and resurrection either through their observance of the Lord’s Supper or throughout the order of the service.

Another problematic element in this book is Webber’s use of his personal, subjective feelings and experiences to give validity to what he taught as Biblical worship that must be recovered by the Church today. In a discussion with Jim Young, Young said that worship without sequence and order had the effect that “my life and relationship to God seem unresolved” (Webber, 2004, p. 58). Webber then relates the thoughts of art professor Art Sheelsey and his own experience. He then states, “The shape of worship that is faithful to God’s revelation and redemption is a medium through which truth is communicated” (Webber, 2004, p. 8). Webber relates a question he asked of Pastor Bob Harvey, “Does the worshiper experience Christ through the structure? ” (2004, pp. 58-59). With the affirmation of this pastor, the question is then answered. In fact, the conclusion seems to be derived by very subjective means. Can such subjective means be the basis of a trusted theology of worship? I have worshipped God deeply in services that did not necessarily follow Webber’s pattern. Was my worship false? Or should I insist that the pattern of the deeply moving worship services I attended is the proper method of Biblical worship?

As illustrations, Webber used only a few churches to demonstrate the positives of using the pattern he espoused or the negatives of not doing so. Again, the evaluation was typically very subjective and non-scientific. One could probably find a church with uninspiring worship that is not following Webber’s pattern any given Sunday. Yet there may be ten other churches not following his pattern that are experiencing vibrant worship of God. Who knows? Another question that must be asked is what will the worship of a church that adopts this pattern look like in a couple of decades.

Throughout history there have been a number of calls back to more biblical worship or doctrine. There have been various calls to revival. Yet after awhile, most seem to have become dead ritual forms. For example, Wesley and the Methodist church had a great impact on the world through its Biblical teaching on entire sanctification. But in time, the Methodist church became very formal and opposed to the teaching of entire sanctification (Cowen, 1948, pp. 11-13). There are two statements Webber makes that I believe are Biblical errors, yet may be minor problems in relation to the main thesis.

First, quoting 1 Corinthians 10:17 he says, “the single loaf of bread is a symbol of the universal church of Jesus Christ” (Webber, 2004, p. 50). The bread of Communion is rather a symbol of Christ’s body that was broken for us. We don’t eat the bread because it represents the Church, but because it represents Christ’s crucified body through which we became part of the Church of God. Second, Webber writes, “When I am thoroughly involved in worship I not only hear and see, but I become. I am to become God’s Word and God’s Bread to the world” (Webber, 2004, p. 105).

Nowhere in the Bible am I aware of anything that supports such a statement. We are to share God’s Word with the world, but we are not the Word of God. The only person who is the Word is Jesus Christ, the eternal Word (John 1:1-5, 14). Similarly, Jesus is God’s Bread; we are not (John 6:53-58). Webber described a powerful worship service he attended at Plymouth Brethren Church. He noted how he slipped into the service, bowed his head in prayer and read Scripture as he prepared for worship. Then, in this free form worship style, the church followed the pattern he suggests is of Biblical worship (Webber, 2004, pp. 120-122).

A question that must be asked, however, is if one of the primary reasons why this worship service impacted him so powerfully was due to his own preparation for worship. It must be admitted that the typical church could do more to help the congregation to prepare for worship. On the other hand, the individual bears much responsibility for being prepared to worship. If the average individual does not prepare himself, is it the fault of the worship service sequence or the individual that he fails to meet God? Interestingly, it could also be argued that a traditional church service follows much the same pattern as that which Webber describes.

For example, the Preparation might include the welcome, congregational singing, pastoral prayer, offering, announcements, and special song. The Word would be the sermon. Many churches might not include the Table, but Webber himself indicated that not every service must include the Table (2004, p. 59). Finally, the Dismissal would include the altar call and closing prayer. Of course, it might be easy to argue that the typical church is not nearly as intentional in its worship order as Webber suggests and may not have any stated intention to re-enact Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.

If it cannot be proved that Biblical worship must include this re-enactment, one must wonder what is the vital difference between Webber’s pattern and the typical worship service. Yet it is at this point that I find Worship is a Verb most helpful. While it might be argued that Webber’s pattern of worship is not too different from most churches, Webber’s pattern reflects an intentionality that is often missing. For example, many churches take an offering partly due to the idea that giving to God is part of worship, but mostly due to the need for funds.

In Webber’s model, however, the offering is intentional. After having heard from God, the offering is part of our response to God. Furthermore, while I have raised many issues with this book, I believe Worship is a Verb is a valuable resource. Webber’s various discussions on Communion are helpful, especially for those whose churches rarely celebrate the Lord’s Supper. I believe his emphasis on using more scripture in a worship service is good also. I do not know if the use of symbols, art, and dance are really that important to worship.

In fact, I might be more inclined to think these helps could cause distractions or lead to idolatry. The church might benefit, however, from the use of more visual aids in worship. Webber’s discussion gives a church who has shunned such things a new perspective. Furthermore, Webber’s discussion on the liturgical year is intriguing and could almost convince me to use it in the future. I especially appreciate his discussion of how secularism has affected the church in the use of time. Conclusion For the person who would like to learn more about worship, I believe Worship is a Verb is a good resource.

I would caution the reader from becoming overcome with Webber’s insistence that worship must re-enact Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. However, I believe the reader would be helped by Webber’s stress on worshiping with intention. I may have disagreements with some of Webber’s conclusions, but I believe all Christians would be helped if they could hear the passion for worship that filled Webber’s heart. Thank God for the contribution Robert Webber made in our understanding of worship during his lifetime!

Drawing Back The Curtain By D. Healey

In the text “Drawing Back the Curtain” by Denis Healey, he discusses the post-war years in Russia and how the Soviet Union’s appearance changed. The author also mentions a generation in Russia that examined totalitarianism. Healey believes that deep-rooted national traditions cannot be destroyed by any power, despite the fact that Soviet Communism had flaws leading to its eventual downfall. Despite this, he insists that these flaws should not be ignored. He also reveals his personal fascination with Russia during his school years.

Denis Healey concedes that the remarkable Soviet people appeared significantly superior compared to their Western counterparts, referring to them as the filmmakers of that era. The narrator acknowledges being acquainted with instances of Russian literature and culture through a friend. However, they express that their friend disappeared after the war, likely falling victim to the great purges. This event further intensified Mr. Healey’s strong animosity towards Soviet policies and government, as it hindered the development of true masterpieces in diverse cultural domains. The author proceeds to recount their visits to Russia.

The way he values the sightseeing deserves attention. He took the air in the Hermitage in Leningrad and the magnificent summer palace of Peter the Great overlooking the Gulf of Finland, its fountains sparkling in the autumn sun, its rococo buildings gleaming with white and gold. As the say goes butter never spoils the porridge, so Mr. Healey found the Kremlin not as a grimly functional building where the Party housed. To his great surprise he found the heart of old Russia as the mediaeval splendour of its palaces and churches, scattered among copses of birch and lilac.

Mr. Healey expressed his enjoyment of interacting with the sixth formers in a Leningrad school. He also mentioned individuals from the creative intelligentsia, including Sakharov, who vehemently opposed the use of hydrogen bombs, Solzhenitsyn, who revealed the harsh reality of life in a labor camp, and Yevtushenko, known for his powerful poem Babiy Yar. These individuals showcased an unwavering spirit that posed challenges to the authorities despite the repercussions they faced. Mr. Healey acknowledged that while it may not last, it was undeniable that signs of cultural progress were evident everywhere.

Many theatres, circuses, and music halls were available for people to enjoy. They were open for anyone to visit and experience to their liking. Mr. Healey was no exception to this. He eagerly took advantage of these opportunities. The author later suggests that the atmosphere improved when he visited in 1963. Despite the limitations on his visits to Russia, he gained valuable knowledge from them and continued to learn more from subsequent visits. He pondered how much changes could impact all areas of life and acknowledged the benefits of short annual visits.

While reading the text, we encounter various stylistic devices employed by the author to enhance the emotive quality of his speech. An excellent instance of this is evident in sentences like: “I had been fascinated by Russia…” and “I was impressed by pre-war Soviet culture…”, which reflect Mr. Healey’s tender disposition towards everything associated with our homeland. Additionally, numerous metaphors are employed, such as: “The Russia of Tolstoy, Tchaikovsky, and Herzen…”, indicating that Russia is not merely a simple country but rather the motherland of many exceptional individuals. The phrase “No power could destroy its national traditions…” further reinforces this idea.

The author establishes that eradicating all the longstanding habits and traditions ingrained in people’s minds is an unattainable task. These elements, accumulated over centuries, have become a source of concern for the authorities governing our country. Mr. Healey employs epithets such as “errate illusions,” “the bitter hostility,” “remarkable purity,” “grimly functional building,” and “hair-raising obscenity” to showcase his creative range and the expressive power of his language.

The text provides examples of contrast to emphasize the importance of not focusing on ordinary things and recognizing the differences. Instead of viewing something as a tragedy with humor, it suggests seeing it as a sad comedy. Similarly, rather than perceiving someone as a wrinkled cynic, it suggests seeing them as a handsome vigorous young prophet of a better future. The author’s use of inverted commas around “Kompository Verdi” and “Socialist Realism” highlights their interest in the Russian Language and the significance of understandable words, likely for the international community. The text also employs hyperbole, such as describing something as a “like hurricane” and a “library of sense – impressions”. Ultimately, the main message conveyed by Mr. Healey is that while people have both similarities and differences, each race is extraordinary.

Lord Of The Flies Morality

Morality encompasses personal or cultural values, codes of conduct, and social principles that dictate the distinction between right and wrong in human society. Philosopher Thomas Hobbes asserts that in the absence of law or morality, individuals descend into savagery, with societal influence being necessary for fostering goodness. In contrast, Jean-Jacques Rousseau posits that humans are inherently noble savages. These conflicting perspectives on morality and its impact on moral behavior lead us to inquire about the motivations behind individuals forsaking ethical behavior.

In the novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding, various characters including Jack and Roger, as well as motifs such as fear, are utilized to illustrate the abandonment of morality. Right from the outset of the story, Jack displays a strong desire for power, which leads to his anger when he loses the leadership election to Ralph. This thirst for power eventually causes Jack to disregard moral principles. Initially, when faced with a pig in the forest, Jack hesitates to kill it. However, he quickly becomes fixated on hunting and fully commits himself to this activity, even adopting a barbaric appearance by painting his face.

Due to Jack’s initial failure in hunting and inability to kill a pig, the children view him with diminished respect and admiration. Consequently, Jack faces greater challenges in his pursuit of power within the group. This difficulty drives Jack to fully devote himself to hunting, revealing the primal instincts that Hobbes believes exist within every individual. Once Jack forsakes his moral compass, he becomes consumed by a relentless desire for bloodshed. As evidenced by his menacing chant, “Kill the beast, Cut her throat, spill her blood” (75).

Jack has fully transformed from a civilized bully to a savage killer, becoming fixated on hunting to the detriment of all else, including rescue. The unsettling rhythmic chant sung by Jack’s tribe after the pig hunt exemplifies the worsening state of affairs under Jack’s influence. This quote demonstrates how Hobbes’ concept of human nature is illustrated within Jack’s tribe, where there are no laws, rules, or boundaries, enabling endless violence and savagery. As Jack grows more savage, his ability to control the rest of his tribe increases.

In the book, Roger is initially portrayed as a shy and quiet boy. However, he gradually embraces Jack’s savage ways and becomes his assistant, responsible for inflicting torture and pain. Roger completely loses his moral compass and shows no remorse for his violent actions. Upon returning to the camp, he starts targeting the littluns by throwing rocks at them while they build sandcastles on the beach, observing their reactions with keen interest.

Roger chooses to disregard his morals and joins Jack in hunting for food, while Ralph and Piggy attempt to establish a camp. Throughout his actions, Roger continuously pushes the boundaries of his savagery by subjecting the pig, Piggy, and the younger children to cruel torture. Similar to how Piggy supports Ralph’s leadership, Roger reinforces Jack’s authority. Ultimately, Roger’s savagery reaches its peak when he callously drops a boulder from castle rock, instantly killing Piggy. Regardless of the immorality or consequences, Roger no longer demonstrates any concern for his actions.

Hobbes’ idea of morality is affirmed by Roger as he displays the inherent savagery within. Additionally, Roger’s presence in a tribe obsessed with killing further bolsters Hobbes’ notion of morality being a social contract. Notably, Roger serves as a pivotal figure in Jack’s tribe, which has forsaken moral behavior. Ultimately, by examining the characters and figures in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, we can seek to unravel the underlying factors that propel humans to abandon their moral compass.

In the book, we witnessed how Jack’s desire for power led him to become unethical in order to obtain it. This change in Jack had a ripple effect and ultimately resulted in a group of immoral individuals. This newly formed group of savages became dedicated to killing, and it all began with Jack as the catalyst. Can one person truly have the power to corrupt all of humanity? Golding, William. Lord Of the Flies. NY, NY: Putnam Publishing, 1954. Pinker, Steven. The Blank Slate. NY, NY: Penguin Publishing, 2002.

error: Content is protected !!