Thursday, March 24, 2011

Entering the story

Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove graciously provided Liturgy with the introduction to their new book Common Prayer: Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals (Zondervan, 2010). Both are founding members of New Monastic communities. While much of their article focuses on the recovery of Christian time as central to the shaping of the Christian imagination, they begin with an invitation to "enter the story":

"Participating in the liturgy of the worldwide Christian community, whether on a Sunday morning or at another time, is more than attending a service or a prayer meeting. It is about entering a story. It is about orienting our lives around what God has been doing throughout history. And it is about being sent forth into the world to help write the next chapter of that story. Wandering the world in search of meaning and purpose, we may not even realize how desperately we need a story. But we know we've found something priceless when we find ourselves in God's narrative.

Liturgy is not about getting indoctrinated. Doctrines are hard things to love. It's not even really about education. Liturgy at its core is not about learning facts and memorizing's about disciplining our spirits like we exercise our muscles. Certainly we are learning as we pray, as we listen to Scripture, as we learn the songs and stories. But we are also participating in the work of God--active prayer, active worship...liturgy offers us an invitation not just to observe but to participate...we are invited to become the actors. We become a part of God's story. We discover lost ancestors. And their story becomes our story."

Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, "A Liturgy for our Whole Life," in Liturgy: Emerging Worship, 26.2 (April-June 2011): 47.

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