Worship is central to the life of the Church. It’s what the Church does before anything else, and without the grounding of the community’s life in God, through Christ, there isn’t a Church.
The principal service of the week, on a Sunday morning, inevitably reflects several things.
1) It’s a Christian worship, reflecting the universal pattern, two thousand years old, of Preparation, Hearing the Word, and the Response of the People (in prayers for the world, thanksgiving, and, on the Sundays when it’s celebrated, Communion). We get ready, we listen, we respond – and the response continues, when we are dismissed back to our daily lives, to be Jesus’ disciples.
2) It’s Reformed worship, in the Swiss, French and particularly, of course, the Scots tradition. It stresses the hearing of the Word, written and preached, as a living encounter with Jesus Christ. As it says in the Preface to the old Third Church Hymnary, “When Scripture is read and preached, the people wait, not for the words of the Minister, but for the word of Christ, who is the Word of God.” That’s to say, what we hear should surprise us and challenge us. What God says here and now isn’t something we can control. It may be consoling, challenging, comforting or unsettling – or all these things.
3) It’s our worship together. We’re the community doing the worship – and you will be a part of this if you join us on a Sunday. Our worship should evolve to meet the needs of the actual folk doing the worshipping, and to draw from them the best they can offer to God. We hope it does!
4) It’s the worship of each of us, as individuals. The congregation’s worship should never place obstacles between anyone and their relationship with God. And that has a very important consequence. Every service starts with a declaration that each of us is there because God wants us to be there, and to know the fullness of his love. If we really are what we claim to be – the Body of Christ – then each of us belongs in a way that no-one and nothing can take away from us. It can be very difficult to believe that I am loved and accepted as I am, but that is the truth of the relationship God calls us to in Christ. If the Church, the living community, doesn’t reflect that, then there is something deeply wrong with her life.
5) It’s the worship of a living congregation, here and now. We aim at a contemporary worship that includes everyone present, and meets their needs in terms of their real lives in the real world. We are blessed with a very serviceable audio-visual installation which allows us to put hymns from any source (CH3, CH4, Junior Praise, Mission Praise, Songs of God’s People, whatever!) on our 65″ monitor. It’s much more visible than tiny print in a hymnbook!!. We also put the Scripture readings there, with anything else that facilitates the congregation’s worship, especially the children.
6) And that concern spills over in to the Children’s Worship. Children, especially, need to know that they have their place, and are loved and accepted as they are. The first part of most services is our Children’s Worship, with the Children’s Address and Children’s Prayers. The Sunday School usually leave at that point and often return before the last hymn for a “Show and Tell” so that we can see what they have been doing in the Church Centre.
All of this is what we strive to have our Sunday morning worship – and the tea and coffee afterwards – reflect. That’s the standard we know we must measure ourselves against. And then there are the smaller services – and they are the worship of the Church no less than Sunday morning’s is! Click to return to the Worship page.