Worship and Mission

Adrian Burdon

Based on a presentation given on the Study Day in October 2012 in Gorbals Parish Church, Glasgow, by the Revd Dr Adrian Burdon, Convener of the Liturgical Subcommittee of the Faith and Order Committee of the Methodist Church in Britain.

Defining his terms, the author quotes Bevan and Shroeder saying that mission is not an innocent word but is ultimately witness to the hope of a new heaven and a new earth. He suggests that neither is worship innocent, but a seditious, life-changing and perception-challenging expression of the life of God in the world. ‘Worship is everything’ and finds expression in many ways, but where mission is prohibited worship nevertheless sustains thc church. Much of the article is a discussion of a 2012 Methodist report on Fresh Expressions and one from the Church of Scotland in 2011. The relationship of this innovative form of mission with the existing patterns of the church is explored. One thing such projects bring is challenge to mainstream Christian communities. What God is doing is bigger than the church. God is a ‘verb, a flow, an embrace, a movement, a dance’, i.e. a relationship. Authentic liturgy heals our eyes and we are enabled to see the world as held in the holiness of God. Schmemann writes of the eucharist that ‘here we see the world in Christ as it truly is’.

Volume 48 2013, p2