Our Liturgy

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Understanding Our Liturgy | A Six Part Series

(With A Study Guide For Prayerful Reflection)

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Spirituality NOT Religion? Community NOT Church?

Most people want to understand God. What they don't want is the baggage that comes with organized religion. For that reason, this new series of teaching videos & companion study guides are designed to help you better understand the WHY & HOW of the Sunday AM Gatherings at the Community Church of Pine Run EMC. Watch these sessions a little at a time or binge them together. Either way, let us know what you think.


The Videos & the Study Guides are Below.

The Feedback Survey follows that.

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LITURGY DEFINED

A structured format that enables the Covenant People of God, when gathered together as a congregation, to respond to & embody the sacred ordinances of God. So long as a Liturgy is Biblically based, there is no single form that is greater than another. Rather, any Biblically-based Liturgy that reflects the Indigenous context in which it is located, is appropriate and acceptable.

 

OUR FRAMEWORK

We BELIEVE that God has revealed Himself in His Word and in History so that we might Know Him, Love Him, & be fully Alive through Him. Thus, our DESIRE is to be a true Community of the Faith: Disciples, Worshipers, & Stewards of His Kingdom as we FOCUS on cultivating an environment that is conducive to loving God, strengthening Family, and transforming Community.

The Gathering of the Congregation provides God’s People with that environment, a space & time in which they can together align their Minds, Hearts, & Wills with God’s Word. So that they may be a People after God's Own Heart, submitting themselves to the Will of the One true King, declaring with one voice the Glory & the Grace of the One who has called them out of Darkness & into the Light (cf. Acts 1:14; 2:46; 4:24/ 1 Peter 2:1-9/ Revelation 4:6-11).

As this shared experience of our common Faith occurs, a congregation begins to identify themselves as the Household of God. The Ekklesia becomes the place where they belong & where their heartbeat is not only in rhythm with God's Heart, but also the hearts of their Brothers and Sisters. For God does not dwell in buildings made of brick & mortar; He is incarnated in His People; Young & Old, Male & Female, Native & Sojourner - We are His Body (cf. 2 Chronicles 6:18/ John 4:23-24/ Nehemiah 8:1-8/ 1 Corinthians 12).

Within this framework, it is our conviction that Biblical Discipleship, Worship, and Stewardship are the sum total of a life entrusted to God. They are an act of Gratitude, of Adoration, & of Sacrifice (cf. Romans 12:1-2/ Hebrews 12:28-29/ Matthew 22:33-47). They are the essence of the Divine Mandate (cf. Genesis 1:28/ Genesis 9:7); they are embodied succinctly in the Tabernacle practices of praise, prayer, & abiding in the LORD’s Presence (cf. Hebrews 10:1-25); & they find their culmination in the Gospel of the Kingdom (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).

Thus, our Liturgy always involves a certain tension as we seek a balance between that which God has done in the past and that which He is doing in the present. the sacred traditions of our Faith are important, not for the sake of comfortable familiarity, but because our traditions are a part of our shared history. However, as each generation brings to us a “new song” we must embrace these fresh expressions of Worship as well; expanding our shared history to include their contributions to the shared experience of our common Faith (cf. Psalm 33:1-3/ Psalm 96:1).


OVERVIEW

Hymn of Gathering Psalm 100:1-5

Welcome Hebrews 10:19-25

Offering 2 Corinthians 9:6-15

Messianic Gentile* call & response SHEMA Matthew 22:34-40

A Reading from the Psalms Ephesians 5:1-21

Invocational Prayer 1 Peter 2:1-10

The Apostles’ Creed Ephesians 2:1-22

Hymns of Confession Psalm 118:1-29

Congregational Prayer Hebrews 4:14-16

Hymn of Consecration Psalm 37:1-40

The Message Isaiah 40:1-8

Hymn of Sending Matthew 28:18-20

The Lord’s Prayer Matthew 6:7-13

The Pastoral Blessing Numbers 6:22-27

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Part One: Setting the Tone

In part one of this new video series, we look at why our congregational gatherings are structured like they are and how this sets the tone for everything else. This video covers our Hymn of Gathering (Psalm 100:1-5), Time of Welcome (Hebrews 10:19-25), & Offering (2 Corinthians 9:6-15).

Use the following 3 questions to help you reflect on the video. Consider writing down your thoughts in your prayer journal. If you picked up on other scriptures or if certain ideas resonated with you, include them as well.

1) According to Isaiah 1, God desires our Love more than our Rituals. Is this different from what you have previously believed or have been taught about church? How so? 

2) According to Isaiah 1 God desires for us to have a Thinking and Reasonable faith. Is this different from what you have previously believed or have been taught about church? How so? 

3) Our Liturgy is framed by our values {We are a Biblically-based Multigenerational Community of Faith seeking to be Worshipers, Disciples, and Stewards of God’s Kingdom}. In what ways have you found this blending of history, legacy, innovation, & inclusion to be helpful for your personal growth & life of faith?

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Part Two: Anchored In The Text

In part two of this new video series, we look at how our congregational gatherings are anchored in the Biblical Text, and specifically the Hebrew Scriptures. This video covers our Messianic Gentile version of the SHEMA (Matthew 22:34-40), our reading from the Psalms (Ephesians 5:1-21), and our Invocational Prayer (1 Peter 2:1-10).

Use the following 3 questions to help you reflect on the video. Consider writing down your thoughts in your prayer journal. If you picked up on other scriptures or if certain ideas resonated with you, include them as well.

1) According to Psalm 100 God’s people are supposed to come to Him with Praise & Thanksgiving. How does an attitude of Gratitude prepare us for the rest of the journey of the liturgy?

2) The Psalms, like the other writings of the Ketuvim, give us a glimpse into the lives of God’s People, and especially as in the case of the Psalms, their prayers & songs of praise. How has the raw human emotion of these writings shaped the way you understand spiritual maturity and intimacy with God?

3) In Matthew 22:34-40 Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:4-9 as summarizing everything God wants us to know about how to live. In what ways has the structure of our liturgy helped you to know God, to love God, & to live fully Alive in covenant with Him? 

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Part Three: Anchored In History

In part three of this new video series, we look at how our congregational gatherings are anchored in the history of our shared Confession of the Faith. This video covers the Apostles’ Creed (Ephesians 2:1-22) and our Hymns of Confession (Psalm 118:1-29).

Use the following 3 questions to help you reflect on the video. Consider writing down your thoughts in your prayer journal. If you picked up on other scriptures or if certain ideas resonated with you, include them as well.

1) According to 2 Timothy 2:1-2 our Confession of the Faith is a kind of shared trust, that each of us has been entrusted with and we affirm when we gather together. How has this practice of declaring our shared Faith through the Apostles’ Creed and our Hymns of Confession enriched your personal faith?

2) According to 2 Peter 1:16-21 our personal faith, which together becomes the Confession of the Faith, is rooted first and foremost in the Scriptures which were inspired by the Holy Spirit. How does this undergird the assertion that the Creeds we affirm and the Songs we sing flow out of the text rather than act as the hermeneutical framework for the text?

3) The continued assertion here is that our Liturgy is grounded in the Scriptures. In what ways has our Liturgy helped enrich your appreciation for and understanding of the biblical text?

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Part Four: The Prayers Of The Saints

In part four of this new video series, we look at how our congregational gatherings are designed to reflect the movement of Tabernacle Worship, drawing those gathered into a deeper experience of connection to God and each other through prayers of supplication and consecration. This video covers our time of Congregational Prayer (Hebrews 4:14-16) and the Hymn of Consecration (Psalm 37:1-40).

Use the following 3 questions to help you reflect on the video. Consider writing down your thoughts in your prayer journal. If you picked up on other scriptures or if certain ideas resonated with you, include them as well.

1) According to Psalm 141:1-2 our prayers are like the incense which was burned in Tabernacle representing the ultimate Heavenly reality (see Exodus 30:1-10 & Revelation 5:1-14). How does this change the way you understand the importance of prayer and its place in the Sunday AM Gathering? 

2) According to Psalm 46:1-11 when we face adversity in life the proper thing to do is to quietly trust in God - to “be still & know that He is God”. In what ways does our Liturgy’s balance of the need for Congregational Prayer and the need to avoid ritualistic displays of Religious behavior, reflect this admonition from Psalm 46?

3) According to Hebrews 4:1-16 Jesus has made it possible for us to come to the Father directly, instead of through human intermediaries, so that we can experience His mercy and grace in our lives. How has this part of our Liturgy helped you to prepare to hear the Message which follows?

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Part Five: Hearing God Speak

Use the following 3 questions to help you reflect on the video. Consider writing down your thoughts in your prayer journal. If you picked up on other scriptures or if certain ideas resonated with you, include them as well.

1) According to Hebrews 1:1-2 at the very core of the Faith is the conviction that God has spoken to us through His Prophets and ultimately in & through the Incarnation of Jesus. How does this impact how you personally prepare yourself to hear the biblical texts read and taught?

2) According to Psalm 1:1-6 those who are Righteous are so because they have committed themselves to faithfully meditating on the biblical texts and putting it into practice in their daily lives. In what ways have you found that your personal study of the biblical texts enriches the Sunday AM Gathering, and also is enriched by the Sunday AM Gathering?

3) The core idea of the Faith is summarized by Jesus in Matthew 22:34-40 as loving God and loving others, and that idea is embodied for us by Jesus (see John 1:1-18 and Philippians 2:1-11). How does this understanding of Jesus as the Word of God incarnate inform your understanding of our Liturgy? 

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Part Six: Living The Faith

In part six of this new video series, we look at how our congregational gatherings draw to a close with the intent that we Go and Live the Faith which we have confessed together. This video covers our Hymn of Sending (Matthew 28:18-20), our communal declaration of the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:7-13), and the Pastoral Blessing (Numbers 6:22-27). Additionally, in the final moments of the video, we consider our closing Call and Response - Maranatha.

Use the following 3 questions to help you reflect on the video. Consider writing down your thoughts in your prayer journal. If you picked up on other scriptures or if certain ideas resonated with you, include them as well.

1) According to Matthew 28:18-20 the ultimate goal of Jesus for us, is to go out and share the Faith with everyone as we live our lives fully surrendered to Him (see also Acts 1:6-8). In what ways is this an extension of the Divine Mandate of Genesis 1:26-31?

2) The Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:7-13 is not only a pattern for personal prayer but also an affirmation of the principles of a Kingdom-Focused life. In what ways does the practice of declaring this prayer together, help to shape the identity of our local Faith Community?

3) The Pastoral Blessing in our Liturgy is taken from Numbers 6:22-27 and it is most commonly referred to as the Aaronic Blessing. In what ways does the affirmation in this benediction that God reveals Himself to us, invites us into an intimate relationship with Him, and blesses us with His peace draw together the other aspects of our Liturgy and make it meaningful for you?

4) Rev. Dr. Strunk refers to our Liturgy as a guided journey for our Community of Faith. Have you ever thought of the Sunday AM Gathering like this before? Having watched this video series, what could you do differently, to be more prepared for this weekly “journey”?  

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