December 1, 2019, 1 Chronicles 15 – Post 2 – ISSL Reflection

What is recounted in 1 Chronicles 15 is a unique situation. The closest some of us might come to anything of this type might be the dedication or consecration of a church sanctuary, church building or some very special event at a cathedral. Or, maybe certain kinds of processionals happening in the streets around Christmas or Easter in some cities and countries.

However, despite the uniqueness of what we are reading about, I have a sense it can offer us a number of ways to reflect on how we worship.

First, do you think we can acknowledge this is a rather “formal” experience of praise and worship?

It certainly seems to me we can call it formal, so let’s focus for a bit on formal worship. Sometimes we might call such liturgical worship or even some might call it “high church.”

One of the things that strikes me in the passage is David’s instruction to the Levites to “sanctify” themselves. We are not offered any details here on what this might have included unless you think the reference to the sacrifice of “seven bulls and seven rams” as well as how David, the Levites, the singers and the leader of the music were clothed counts as part of sanctifying. We are probably safe to assume that whatever else this sanctifying included at the minimum washings, sacrifices and at least for some certain clothing was involved.

What might happen today in formal settings of worship?

I have been in services in which as one enters the worship space and before one enters a row of pews one bows or kneels and maybe “crosses” themselves. Then upon entering the pew kneels again and prays. Maybe the prayer is extemporaneous and unstructured or maybe the prayer is of a particular pattern and wording.

This leads me to think the person following that pattern is preparing themselves for the “worship service” that is to follow. Maybe this pattern is followed out of habit or is very intentional on the part of the worshipper.

Not everyone is drawn to this style of formal, liturgical worship, but many find it nourishing and sustaining.

What leads me to draw our attention to it for the moment is how the participant prepares to enter the time of worship and the worship space.

But what of the less formal worship styles?

I can think of worship spaces where the folks enter greeting one another, sharing talk of what’s been going on with them and moving from one person to another greeting others and all the time sharing conversation, smiles, handshakes and hugs.

Is that also a means of preparing for the “worship service” that is to follow?

There is more than one style of worship. Different people for different reasons are drawn to one style rather than another.

Thinking here of structured worship experiences (not spontaneous experiences of worship which we will think about later) should we take time to prepare ourselves to enter those times and spaces? How?

Give some time and thought to what you do or might do to approach a time of worship.

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

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