Confession of a non-liturgical pastor

Confession of a non-liturgical (at least in the strictest definition of the term) pastor…

Several years ago as I read the history of Christianity I was taken with the emphasis on the public reading of Scripture – something specifically mentioned by Paul to Timothy.

I decided that if it we’re specifically told to do so in the Bible and since it was deeply rooted in the history of the Church that I’d add the reading of Scripture to the regular order of the service. (Note: “Order of worship” is how we non-liturgicals talk about liturgy.)

The question then became what passage to read. My first inclination was to use the passage I was going to preach from later in the service. That, though, had some limitations — really, not all preachable portions of Scripture lend themselves to the reading of Scripture in worship service.

Also, I was still challenged to lift the Scripture, itself. If I read my text early, I was really still reading it as part of the sermon. I wanted to let the Scripture, at that point, just speak for itself and be separate from the sermon.

Ultimately, I decided to go with at least a portion of the Gospel reading from the Book of Common Prayer. It gives us a bit of structure and a certain flow week by week. So each week a lay reader leads us in a responsive reading from the Gospels.

I’m not preaching from it and I still don’t use the lectionary, although I’m not critical of those who do.

By the way, sometime later I added a weekly Psalm, which I use as a call to worship. Then, more recently, I’ve added the reading of one of the wonderful Biblical benedictions to each service.

A Biblical call to worship, a responsive reading from the Word, an expository sermon, and a benediction from Scripture…nope, I’m not liturgical, I just like to use the Bible in worship.

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