As a highly compact form of speech capable of stimulating the imagination, poetry can be effectively used in almost any of the various dimensions or acts of public worship. This article catalogs a variety of ways that poetry can be used in worship and gives guidelines to worship planners for selecting poems and readers.
The most common use of poetry in worship is the singing of poems as hymns. Despite their common use, however, hymn texts are rarely thought of in terms of their poetic qualities. Yet hymn writers are among the finest wordsmiths the church has known. Appreciating their art enriches the experience of all who sing.
Writing prayers for worship calls for the creativity of a poet, the sensitivity of a pastor, the insight of a theologian, and the foundation of a living relationship with God. Weaving together these concerns, this article gives advice to the worshiper who is given the task of writing prayers for public worship. It suggests an approach that will be accessible for beginners and challenging for experienced worship leaders.
The text of a prayer is only one element important in the act of public prayer. For the way in which a prayer is spoken, the attitudes that accompany it, and the nonverbal gestures which complement it often communicate as much of the meaning of the prayer as the text itself. This article looks at the whole act of public prayer, offering worship planners pastoral, liturgical, and aesthetic guidelines regarding prayer.
Language used in black preaching has a musical ring and rhythm. The spirit and delivery of this language has much to do with the emotional vitality of worship in black churches, a fine example of how the aesthetic qualities of language shape the meaning and experience of worship.
The language of worship is responsive both to the scriptural tradition in which Christians worship and to the cultural context in which the worship event takes place. The interplay between these forces is dynamic and formative, challenging the church to examine the language it uses in worship.
The nature of language is a topic of significant recent interest to liturgical scholars. The following article outlines some of the most difficult questions these scholars address. These questions can also be helpful to worship planners and leaders as they reflect on the language they use in worship.
This article gives practical guidance for introducing movement into congregational worship for the first time.
Folk dances express the ethos of a culture in much the same way that music and poetry do. Shared cultural sentiments and beliefs take shape in folk dance patterns that can be learned with little difficulty. These dance styles can be used in worship with many members of the congregation participating.
Since movement is a normal part of life it has to be a part of worship forever. However, highlighting or emphasizing actions is the purpose of dance. These articles describe sources and means for utilizing movement more fully in worship.