Today’s post is written by Jo Anne Taylor, Director of Music and Worship at Bethlehem Covenant Church in Minneapolis, MN.
Remember the Room of Requirement in Hogwarts Castle from the Harry Potter books? It was there when needed, and it contained whatever was required at the moment it was needed. Sometimes, The Covenant Book of Worship becomes my worship planning Room of Requirement – I go there when I need something specific, and I need it now. I am sure that other pastors and worship leaders often turn to this invaluable resource for planning specific elements of a worship service, but how many of us have actually read the thoughtful essays on the theology and practice of worship that introduce this book?
As the Better Together group discussed The Covenant Book of Worship this week, questions were raised about its relevancy to the growing variety of worship cultures evident in the Covenant since the book was published nearly a decade ago. One member of the group, who served on the editorial commission, reminded us that “the essays aren’t trying to give voice to our breadth of current expression as much as connect us to our theological and historical roots” and this is much different than compiling a book that attempts to define some middle point in the full range of worship experience within our denomination.
That’s the beauty of the Evangelical Covenant Church: we do not seek a middle ground, a norm that compromises all views and satisfies none. In the foreword, Glenn Palmberg writes, “Our shared vision is for worship that is biblically and theologically grounded, has integrity of expression, is focused upon God and sensitive to the gifts and needs of those who gather” (The Covenant Book of Worship, vii). Whatever culture, whatever worship style, whatever size, God invites us into his presence. Come, let us worship.