Reading Scripture Creatively

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As I write this, I am hopeful that we are all Bible-Believing Churches that use God's Word as the central basis for our worship. But do we read scripture only before the sermon?  How well do we incorporate scripture into the other areas of our worship?

Lately we have been intentionally incorporating the Psalms in our worship service.  Sometimes we read a Psalm as a call to worship.  Sometimes we sing a Psalm as a lament or confession.  But I always ask myself "can we do more?" I was looking back at some of our recent worship services and thought maybe we could have read this scripture text with two or three readers.  

As we prepare worship services the thought should be what scripture passages can we relate to the central text (sermon) or theme of the service.  How can we present it as relevant to today's culture eventhough it was written in another culture?  How can we express visually in worship God's Word?   How does our congregation receive God's Word?  With Joy? With a mournful and monotonous stare?  

I attended a session at a confrence and the discussion was on youth and scripture.  I was alarmed that the youth do not know where to find books within the Bible (Old Testament or New Testament).  And that they didn't have much of basic scripture memorization.  The result of the session was a collaborative effort to include scripture passages that were outside of the sermon text.  But here's the catch - to include them so that they were relevant, and creative.

So I throw it out to you - What do you do to present God's Word in worship creatively?  How much emphasis is there when we prepare a worship service that it include scripture that is outside of the sermon text?  When do we start inviting children to read scripture in worship?  Can we creatively express God's Word visually in our worship space?

Posted in: Worship; Resource > Article Photo courtesy Marcelino Rapayla Jr. - http://www.flickr.com/photos/coolmars/3391178730/ Image: See Credit

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Comments

If we understand worship as engaging/dialogue with God, we will want scripture to saturate our services.  If our pattern for worship is that God reveals Himself and we respond, then scripture will be appropriate for both God's revelation of Himself and for our response.  This is a different understanding than "we do the worship, then we listen to God during the sermon." 

I love to use scripture for a call to worship, for God's revelation of Himself (resulting in our praise), for a call to confession, sometimes even for the confession (Psalm 51), for the assurance of forgiveness, for instructions for grateful living, as a prayer for illumination, as a response to the Word, as a sending into the world for continued worship/service... okay, let's just say I love to use the scripture in worship!  As worship planners, we actually script the dialogue between God and His people; that's a weighty responsibility and I'm more concerned to do that appropriately and less concerned to do that creatively.

That said, I believe that the more we can involve the Body in worship, the more they will own the worship.  (Three cheers for the priesthood of believers!)  I love to use a diversity of members to present the scripture, as well as having the whole congregation involved sometimes.  Park Church has a quarterly memory passage, and when we use this in worship we can see where it fits into God's story and our stories.  Accompanying scripture with images from creation communicates particularly well with some folks.  We stand for the reading of the scripture, and sometimes thank God for His Word after reading it.

One of my favorite ways to root worship in the Word is to read a verse or two, then stop to respond with an appropriate prayer/song. Then we continue with the reading... and response, back and forth through the passage. 

Thanks for asking!

Haven't various lectionaries helped the church do this for years?  Why do we need to reinvent the wheel, when we already have a wonderful tool easily available to us?

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