Thursday, January 02, 2020

Christocentric worship

To begin with, it is clear that early Christian worship was centered on Christ. This conclusion seems not at all surprising or even all that interesting given that I have chosen here to explore christological hymns. Still, the fact that the early Christian milieu was generative of passages that offer hymnic declarations about Christ in elevated style and poetic form is foundational for this study. In a range of ways these passages invite readers to embrace a particular view of reality centered on the events surrounding the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. I suggest that it is not these hymnic passages alone that give rise to this dynamic. What we know of early Christian worship as a whole indicates that much of it was similarly centered on Christ. Though we have little direct evidence of early Christian worship, there are good reasons to see these passages as a reflection of an already widespread emphasis on the centrality of Christ among these communities. Apart from the existence of such a prevalent christological perspective within the Christian communities, it is difficult to imagine a scenario that would result in such diverse yet related Christ-centered passages with hymnic features embedded throughout the New Testament writings.—Matthew Gordley, New Testament Christological Hymns, 222–23

<idle musing>
Sadly, I fear that is not the case in what passes for Christian worship today. A deadly mixture of me-centered, tuneless songs, repeated ad nauseum, followed by a sermon that most frequently is devoid of any scriptural foundation, if not outright heresy. And don't forget about the flag worship and the rampant nationalism.

How the mighty have fallen. Lord, have mercy!
</idle musing>

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