A Word from John: “…This doesn’t feel very ‘Presbyterian'”

“…This doesn’t feel very “Presbyterian””

This statement isn’t unique to Presbyterians.  Most denominations have either an exact word for word, or a similar version of this message that gets passed around in their circles.  We could have multiple newsletter articles about what it does and doesn’t mean to be Presbyterian.   One of the things that falls under the category of does is our ability, and encouragement, to be diverse in the way we worship God.  Here are some words from our Book of Order about worship:

The Language of Worship

God brings all things into being by the Word. God offers the Word of grace, and people respond to that divine initiative through the language of worship. They call God by name, invoke God’s presence, beseech God in prayer, and stand before God in silence and contemplation. They bow before God, lift hands and voices in praise, sing, make music, and dance. Heart, soul, strength, and mind, with one accord, they join in the language, drama, and pageantry of worship.

You’ve seen, or been a part of all of those things in a Presbyterian worship service, right? Probably not.  So when we say things like “well, that’s not very Presbyterian” what we often mean is “that’s not familiar to the style of worship I have experience in a certain Presbyterian church.”  One of the beautiful things about our tradition as a denomination is how diverse our forms of worship can be.  So when we add and share new styles of worship, we are joining with other Presbyterians in other times and places that probably don’t look like us or even share some of the same cultural traditions as us.

We’re not just Presbyterian.  We’re also Reformed.  One of the major guiding principles of the Reformed tradition is; “reformed and always being reforming”.  It’s not us that does the reforming but the work of the Holy Spirit amongst us.   Know that when you are trying new forms of practicing your spirituality you are tapping into one of the deepest and oldest traditions that we have.   You are listening and moving with the Holy Spirit as you widen the lens you have in how you see God moving in you and in the world.