MOVEMENT FOUR | WORSHIP

Jean-Jacques von Allmen, a 20th century liturgical theologian, presents the image of worship as the beating heart of the Church.

“The life of the Church pulsates like the heart by systole and diastole. As the heart is for the animal body, so [worship] is for the church life a pump which sends into circulation and draws it in again, it claims and it sanctifies. It is from the life of worship … that the Church spreads itself abroad into the world to mingle with it like leaven in the dough, to give it savour like salt, to irradiate it like light, and it is toward [worship]— toward the Eucharist—that the Church returns from the world, like a fisherman gathering up his nets or a farmer harvesting his grain.”

Words like systole and diastole aren’t the most commonly used terms in and around the church. They’re important to know, though. Both terms define the two movements of a beating heart — systole being the phase of the heartbeat when the heart muscle contracts, pumping blood from the chambers into the arteries and diastole being the phase of the heartbeat when the heart muscle relaxes, allowing the chambers to fill with blood. It’s clear that you can’t have one happening without the other and expect to live, and it’s no different for the Church. She needs this heart to be oriented to God in the diastole and to the world in systole.

You see, worship is at the heart of what the Church is and does. It’s the defining movement that sets the tone for all the Church’s life. And prayer is the very heart of that worship. It’s a two-way, back and forth communication by which love flows between God’s people and their Maker — the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth, their only help. Let’s make every effort to claim all that God intended for us in prayer — not to get prayer, itself, but to get God, himself, saying, “God, Your name, Your kingdom, You will be exalted, not my will, not my kingdom, not my name.” It’s the chief means by which we maintain and grow our relationship with God and to partner with God in his ministry of reconciliation. We’ll focus our evenings on the Person of Jesus.

POSTURES & PRACTICES

  • Take time to pray silently before gathered worship on Sunday. Pray for those around you, visitors who will be attending, lukewarm members, unsaved attenders, those who are experiencing difficulties in life, and so on.
  • Augustine said that singing is praying twice. Increase your time of singing to God. Perhaps try to sing His Word as you read it, coming up with ways to help you memorize it.

PRAYERS
Traditional Collect: Almighty God, who pours out on all who desire it the spirit of grace and of duplication: Deliver us, when we draw near to you, from coldness of heart and wanderings of mind, that with steadfast thoughts and kindled affections we may worship you in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP)

Meditative Prayer: Lord God, I need your help. I ask for healing. As I ask, I wait for you to shine light. Please reveal your truth. In this memory, Where were you? In this place, Where were you? In this time, Where were you? Speak, Jesus, for I wait. I listen. (Canyon Road: A Book of Prayer)

The Gloria
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son: and to the Holy Ghost; As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end. Amen.


THE FOURTH SUNDAY

EVENING PRAYER

SILENCE [2 min]
Silence, stillness, and centering before the God of our salvation.

JESUS | HE IS GOD
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
(Colossians 1:15-20)

EVENING HYMN
All hail the power of Jesus’ name! Let angels prostrate fall. Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown him Lord of all.
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown him Lord of all!
O seed of Israel’s chosen race now ransomed from the fall,
hail him who saves you by his grace, and crown him Lord of all. Hail him who saves you by his grace, and crown him Lord of all! Let every tongue and every tribe responsive to his call,
to him all majesty ascribe, and crown him Lord of all.
To him all majesty ascribe, and crown him Lord of all!
Oh, that with all the sacred throng we at his feet may fall!
We’ll join the everlasting song and crown him Lord of all.
We’ll join the everlasting song and crown him Lord of all.

Edward Perronet, 1780

PROMPTED PRAYER

  • For Jesus to be more beautiful and more believable than anything else
  • For purity of mind, body, and soul
  • For a gospel-intentionality in your vocation

THE BENEDICTION
Be exalted, O LORD, in your strength! We will sing and praise your power.
(Psalms 21:13)

SILENCE [2 min]
Silence and stillness, as God has the last word to finish the day. He labors while you sleep.