Thursday, March 31, 2011

Worship leading to mission

As part of his concluding essay in Liturgy: Emerging Worship, "On the periphery of the emerging church," Dennis Bushkofsky turned his attention to the connection between "emerging church" and mission. He wrote:

"A major goal of the liturgical movement from the latter half of the twentieth century has been to restore the ancient model of the catechumenate [a process of evangelization, formation, and initiation through baptism] as a way to further the reach of the Christian chuch. A great many church leaders--across a wide array of denominations--who have come to know about this model also serve in congregations established in the Christendom era. This ancient-future model of welcoming people into the sacramental life and ministry of the church probably fits better into an ecclesial expression that is deeply engaged in working among people who already identify with a postmodern age.

In this way the emerging church movement may have the opportunity to extend key aspects of the liturgical movement into the future. Worship that leads to service in the world (that is, to practicing the faith) has been a perennial concern of liturgical reformers in many eras...A movement within the church that seeks to remove barriers between the sacred and daily life is very much what the restoration of the about. The implication here is that the emerging church--and its chief expression in worship--has proclaiming and living God's incarnation for the life of the world at its very core. So what is emerging is not merely a fad, but rather a sign of hope for all who worship, now and in the years to come."

Dennis Bushkofsky served as guest editor of Liturgy: Emerging Worship, vol. 26.2 (2011). He is an interim pastor of the ELCA serving in the Metropolitan Chicago Synod, has written for and edited numerous worship resources for Augsburg Fortress Publishers, and is a member of the board of The Liturgical Conference.

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