What’s History got to do with it?

“For: The Institue of Contemporary and Emerging Worship StudiesSt. Stephens UniversityEssentials Red Online Worship Theology Course with Dan Wilt.”

Over the next few weeks I am going to be blogging things as I process them from the course Essentials Red. So just to give you a little heads up as flavour of these posts will be focused more on the history of worship and it’s application to life today as opposed to the theological flavour of past posts.

What’s the value of studying history in the first place? If you have grown up in the Western World or exposed to it you will have been taught that we study history to learn from past mistakes so we don’t repeat them again. No that’s fair enough but it doesn’t exactly light my fire. BTW I am the dude who was sleeping in history class.

BUT I read something very interesting this past week in a book called Ancient Future Time by Robert Webber. He was saying that that is not how the Jews understood history at all. They saw history as more of a record of the eternal, timeless God invading our time and space.

This for the Jews gives history a 3D feel. Not only does it concern or recount the past (which Westerners are used to) but it seeks to make the past present and alive, re-enacting it as if it were happening now, and it proclaims the truth into the future.

So if that’s a little airy fairy to grab hold of let’s take communion or Eucharist. When we practice it we are remembering that final supper Jesus had with his friends, remembering what was going to come next. That’s the past piece, the bit where we remember.

Then when we actually tell the story, eat the bread/wafers/any other flat carbohydrate and drink the grape juice/wine (depends on which version of the Bible you read, ha ha) we are living the past as if it is present. The remembering triggers a meditation that helps us connect with the past as if we were there.

Finally Jesus says “do this until I come again”, there is a future aspect, a proclaiming of what he has done to future generations, to creation itself that Jesus paid it all, that he is Saviour and he is coming back again.

So that was something new for me and I’m still trying to figure out how it can help me worship as a lifestyle. For one thing it makes the past come alive, the things God has already done for me in my past.

How can it help you with your worship?


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