Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Missional Worship

'As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.' Mark 1:16-20

It seems to me that this is a significant 'missional worship' text. Here we have Jesus calling Simon, Andrew, James and John to follow Jesus and be fishers of people. It is a calling to worship Jesus and be fishers of people. 'Come follow me and I will make you fishers of people'. Worship and mission are interlocked with each other here. It is not that worship and mission are a seperate issue in the calling of Christ on their lives, but that a part of the calling to follow Jesus is the calling to be agents of mission.
And this continues for the Church today.

14 comments:

Sam Norton said...

I'll repeat my question from the other thread: is there anything in Christian discipleship that for you doesn't qualify as worship?

Joe said...

Hmmmmm......

I would say that Christian discipleship is worship, so no. Now as a disciple I recognise that my whole life should be worship, but unfortunately it isn't. But Christian discipleship is the goal to be living sacrifices.

Sam Norton said...

I was worried you'd say that. I think there's a way in which that is true, but the consequence is that 'worship' gets stripped of any specific meaning. I have no doubt that the sanctified worship in everything they do but for the rest of us I think that there is a meaningful distinction to be made between worship and other Christian activities...

Joe said...

Ok.

So do you see worship primarily as the act a Christian community engages in when they are together, namely in the sharing of the sacraments?

Sam Norton said...

I would say something like: worship is to the community what prayer is to the individual - it is what is done when 'getting closer to God' is the aim.

Joe said...

That is why I see mission as a part of worship. Because I believe that when the community reaches out in mission they are getting closer to God because they join in with him on his mission.

Sam Norton said...

!!!

Let's try a different tack: worship is what the community does when it is mimicking Jesus going up the mountain on his own to be with his Father. Obviously Jesus had a missionary imperative (doh!) but he still kept space to stay in touch with the Father. Worship is that _separate_ act.

The logic of your position is that when Jesus goes up the mountain by himself he is engaging in mission. I think the language has lost any traction by that point ;)

Joe said...

Let me try a different tack too! ;0)

My position is that mission is a PART of worship but not the TOTALITY of worship. Mission is not a fruit of worship but an expression of our worship. When Jesus goes up on the mountaintop to pray he is engaged in worship. When Jesus goes to the villages to preach the good news, he is engaged in worship.
You're saying they are separate acts entirely, whereas I want to hold them together.

I suppose I want to get at what is the point of the church in light of our theology of God. Is God self-indulgent? Does he want us to meet together and worship him with the 'hope' that through this time together something happens to the world around us, or is God more concerned with the 'sin-sick' who as yet have not encountered the 'grace-cure' and therefore wants us to be concerned (the lost sheep, lost son, lost coin come to mind)?

Sam Norton said...

We're getting snagged on vocabulary.

Let me call the activity of "going up the mountain as a group" - menlozopping.

Let us accept that "worship" covers the full gamut of christian behaviour and discipleship, and that this includes mission on the one hand, and menlozopping on the other.

My contention is that menlozopping is the most important thing that a Christian can do, and that without it all the other endeavours are lessened in their impact, sometimes in a completely self-defeating way.

Which is a way of saying that contemplatives don't just make the best evangelists, but the best social workers too.

Menlozopping is to Christian behaviour what petrol is to a car.

Or, better, menlozopping is to Christian behaviour what eating is to growth. The menlozopping is not the building up of a muscle (nor is it the exercise which directly builds up the muscle) but it is the precondition for that activity taking place.

After all, there have been many sorts of menlozop proposed down the ages, and where the menlozopping has gone awry then the consequences (the wrath of God) have been severe.

So menlozopping is not the sum total of Christian life - it is a long way from that - but it is the single most important thing that a Christian can do. It can be done in all contexts by all varieties of people (indeed, for some people it is the only practical form of discipleship they can pursue).

Hi ho, hi ho, to menlozop I go... :)

Joe said...

I think to menlozop (great word by the way!) is SO important. I agree with you. I agree that the best evangelists are those who menlozop. I believe the best Ministers are those who menlozop. I want to be better and better at menlozopping. But...(you knew one was coming)

...if we are true contemplatives we will come down from the mountain and go and tell people the Good News. The reason I want to keep banging on about mission is because I believe the church has become so full of people up on a mountain who have forgotten they need to come down again.

Sam Norton said...

"...if we are true contemplatives we will come down from the mountain and go and tell people the Good News."

At last we have agreement!!

Joe said...

Hurrah!!

Tim said...

I would just like to add that 'worship' can also be a response to 'mission'.

You know I wonder if the problem is that we tend to break stuff down into functional 'doing' things and actually we need to perhaps look at them more in terms of 'being'. Mission and worship are just part of who we are (or who we are called to be) like breathing is part of being alive as well as something that keeps us alive.

Joe said...

I think the incarnation shows us that mission can very much be about who we are...