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For: The Institute of Contemporary And Emerging Worship Studies, St. Stephens University, Essentials Red Online Worship History Course with Dan Wilt.

Prayer and Scripture have played an integral part in my spiritual history and my most vivid memory is of our family reading the Bible and praying together when I was young.  My parents were able to bring biblical stories and concepts alive within the context of my life experiences in that moment in time.  Prayer and Scripture were also integrated in a healthy way within the church setting for me.  From an early age, I was taught to read and meditate on the word and to incorporate it into my prayer and worship time. 

Many of the worship songs I remember fondly from my childhood were taken straight from scripture and I can recall bible verses simply by singing such songs in my head.  These are the songs we sang at church and in family worship times around the piano.  I am sure many could testify to this.  I recall memory verse challenges in Sunday School where we not only learned parts of scripture by rote but understood them in context as part of our unit of study.

Within a more contemporary church setting, this integration of prayer and scripture is perhaps not as evident as stand-alone moments. I know that my children are not having the rich exposure to scripture that I did as a child both through its reading and its use in song and prayer.  Yet they are exposed to a more varied expression of worship to and for God than I was and understand that God loves the sacrifice of praise we bring to him in what ever form it takes. 

I am prompted to consider the patterns I am teaching my children in regards to both prayer and the value of the word and its relevance within contemporary culture.  Dan Wilt speaks of the importance of reflection in The History of Worship Part One (Essentials Red)1.  Likewise, when it comes to our own emerging understanding and application of prayer and scripture in our own spiritual journey “we must ask ourselves why we do what we do in life”2.  Am I simply replicating the patterns I have learned or am I open to discovering new and innovative ways to encounter Christ and who He is?  Can I bring my spiritual heritage to bear on the way I teach my children biblical truths?  Stay tuned for further answers to these questions in coming weeks.

1. Wilt, Dan. History of Worship Part One: Essentials Red.

2. Webber, Robert E. Ancient-Future Time: Forming Spirituality through the Christian Year. (Michigan: Baker Books, 2004), p.47.

For: The Institute of Contemporary And Emerging Worship Studies, St. Stephens University, Essentials Red Online Worship History Course with Dan Wilt.

This past week I have been encouraged to consider History and where we have come from, the journey we have taken to the place where we stand today.  As an avid scrapbooker, the idea of remembering and rekindling history is very important to me. As I take photos of all the events in our families life, as I document our stories in my journaling and as we retell the stories in our sharing of our precious albums with others I realise that I am leaving a legacy for generations to come.  It is a deliberate act on my behalf to remember our history and to celebrate it time and time again.  It is my hope that our children will see in our history the ever present handprint of God on every event and in every space.

In the same way, as I leave this legacy for my family, I am constantly reminded how often God invades my space and my time, even if I am not aware of it immediately. As I reflect on my readings this week and on Dan Wilt’s discussions, I am further challenged to look for God in all the spaces I find myself whether that be my home, in nature, in church, at the shops, at school, alone or in a crowd.  I desire in a greater way, for my engagement with God to be more fluid and not limited to designated quiet times or in church.  I desire to lead my heart toward a greater intimacy with God that defies time and space where my “worship celebrates historic events that happened in the past and anticipates the eschatological event that will happen in the future.” 1  God is good and is ever-present and it is the very act of remembering that often calls that truth to mind.

1. Webber, Robert E.  Ancient-Future Time: Forming Spirituality through the Christian Year. (Michagan: Baker Books, 2004) p. 27

For: The Institute of Contemporary And Emerging Worship Studies, St. Stephens University, Essentials Red Online Worship History Course with Dan Wilt.

Surrender, verb: To deliver up to the control or power of someone or something else.

Yesterday I found myself thinking deeply about the concept of surrender and God has laid many things on my heart that I feel I need to surrender to Him as an act of worship.  Oh how I have hung on to many things because I have not wanted to lose control over them in some shape or form.

When I think of surrender, I think of having a “hands off” attitude in my heart.  Of loosening my grip on my dreams, my hopes, my fears, my vision and my purpose.  I long to not hold so tightly to these things.  I sense that I have been suffocating myself in the process and there is much freedom to be had in letting go and letting God.

Today I was moved as I listened to Dan speak in The Introduction to Essentials Red of the early Christians who surrended their lives as an act of worship.  I struggle to surrender even part of my life at times, let alone every aspect of who I am.

The practice of surrender is the challenge and for me is a moment by moment experience.  I remind myself that God is in control , that He alone is central and I eagerly look for the evidence of that as I “give up” more of my heart to Him in an attitude of worship.

Welcome to my new blog!

I love new things and new experiences.  I have written on many people’s blogs before but have never had any desire to have my own – a new challenge!