FUMC Marietta, GA- Church: Methodist, Local Church Service
Saturday, May 25, 2013
Worship: Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions About Worship
What is Worship? – For us worship is more than a style, more than an event, or a good performance. Worship can be a healing or restoring experience for us when we participate in worship and are not consumers of it. We believe our worship is for God. While worship does not make God present, in worship we become aware of God’s presence in a unique way. As we gather as a community to sing and pray and hear God’s word we become aware of the closeness of heaven and earth. The liturgy, the symbols, the sights and sounds of worship all focus us, the congregation, on the single audience of worship…God.
Who Can Participate In Worship? – We use the word Liturgy to talk about worship. The word comes from the Classical Greek word λειτουργÎ¯α (leitourgia) meaning public work or the work of the people. Liturgy is the participation of the ministers, musicians, acolytes, ushers, and the congregation in the worship of God. Liturgy is the words that we say, the prayers we pray, the songs that we sing, the symbols, the sounds, the creeds and the message. When all of this is taken together, experienced, and acted on worship comes alive.
Why Do We Usually Do The Same Thing Every Week? – Our worship services are ordered to express the biblical, historical and theological integrity of Christian worship. As we gather, the people come together God’s name. The invocation calls upon God to remind us of God’s presence with God’s people. As we process we are bringing in the light of Christ and the Word of God. Processing reminds us we are people coming into the presence of God. Prayer is offered by the ministers on behalf of the church and by the people as we pray in one voice. In the reading and preaching of God’s Word we are both comforted and confronted as the people of God. Each service ends with the sending out as we are reminded that we are the people of God, created to worship and to serve.
Who Are The Young People Dressed In White? – They are acolytes. The word acolyte is derived from the Greeká¼€κολουθςο (akolouthos), meaning companion, attendant, or helper. Acolytes participate in the worship service by carryinga processional cross, lighting the altar candles and extinguishing the altar candles at the conclusion of the service. Our acolytes light the altar candles at the beginning of the worship service to remind us that Jesus is in the presence of the worshiping community. Before the extinguishing of the last altar candles, the acolytes relight their "candle lighter" and then process out. This symbolic gesture reminds us that Jesus Christ is for all people everywhere, and that the light of Jesus Christ is meant to go out into the world where believers are called to serve. word
How Are The Scripture Readings Chosen Each Week? – As a church we follow the Revised Common Lectionary or RCL. The RCL is a series of readings agreed on by churches around the world and assigned to each Sunday of the year. The Lectionary helps the church tell the story of the Bible in cycles paying attention to special times and seasons in the life of the Church. Each Sunday is assigned an Old Testament Reading, a Psalm, a reading from an Epistle or Revelation and a Gospel reading. The RCL runs in a three year cycle with each year focusing primarily on Matthew, Mark or Luke while John’s Gospel is read during certain seasonal festivals in the church.
What Are The Different Seasons of the Church? – The liturgical year is also known as the Christian year and helps the church tell the Story of the Gospel. The Christian year begins with Advent and the anticipation of the coming Christ both past and present. Christmas celebrates the coming of God in flesh. At Epiphany we recognize Christ as King. During Ordinary Time we focus on the life of the believer. In Lent we prepare and repent. Easter is a celebration of the life of God in the world at the resurrection of Jesus. And during Pentecost we remember the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church. The Liturgical Calendar helps order the rhythms of the life of the church.
Why Are The Cloths On The Pulpit and The Altar Different Colors Through Out the Year? – As the Church Calendar changes so do the colors of the paraments (the cloth hanging on the alter, pulpit, and lectern in the sanctuary) and the stoles of the ministers. Advent and Lent are Purple signifying the royalty of the coming child and the one that would offer his life for the world. Christmas, Epiphany, Easter and Communion Sundays are White or Gold identifying them as High Holy days. Ordinary Time is Green signifying the growth of the believer and the Church. Pentecost is Red as we remember the burning of the Spirit and the birth of the Church.