The principle purpose of worship is not to teach but to worship God…

God is praised as Creator, Redeemer, and Judge. The worshiper praises, magnifies, and glorifies him not only for who he is, but also for what he has done in providing life, redemption, sustenance, hope, and many other blessings. In this way, worship becomes an experience of God. The worship is carried through an experience in which the opportunity is given to make a fresh commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

-Robert Webber, Common Roots: The Original Call to an Ancient-Future Faith (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009), 129.

Easter is not a single day; it is a season…Every event of the Christian year flows into Easter, even as all the events of the Christian year flow from Easter.

-Robert Webber, Ancient-Future Time: Forming Spirituality through the Christian Year (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2004), 142-143.

The full church is not seen in any one denomination or body. Rather, every branch of the church should be seen as part of the whole. The church catholic therefore needs every branch of the church to be complete.

-Robert Webber, Common Roots: The Original Call to an Ancient-Future Faith

I think this quote applies to our singing in worship services too.  A few years ago, I heard a fellow worship leader comment that a song written five years ago felt old.  “I don’t know why we feel that about worship music, but we do,” they said.  Their lack of interest in the “why”confused me at the time.

I wonder if it’s our culture that is feeding us the message that new is better and shiny while old is, well, old.  While we need to “sing a new song”, we practice a kind of “spiritual amnesia” when we only sing songs written in this small moment of time.  As Robert Webber comments,

Our ahistorical approach to Christianity has cut us off from the great heritage of thought that has grown up in the church and that has been passed down through the centuries. In the history of the church lies untold treasures of theological thought, devotional literature, and guidelines for nearly every issue that Christians face today.

-Robert Webber, Common Roots: The Original Call to an Ancient-Future Faith (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009), 44.

Christians shaped by the (new heavens and new earth when Jesus comes again and makes everything right) vision of worship seek to bring that vision to bear . . . in the world.

(For example, stand up for human rights, oppose injustice and oppression, work out of a clear sense of honesty, take care of widows and orphans, support the battle against the destruction of the environment, and engage in various activities that uphold the vision of a new heaven and a new earth where all wickedness has been put away forever)

-Robert Webber, Worship Is a Verb: Celebrating God’s Mighty Deeds of Salvation, Second Edition

…Our worship stands at the center and gives shape to all that we do. Worship, then, is not only the public acts we do as a gathered community, but our very way of day-to-day life.

-Robert Webber, Worship Is a Verb: Celebrating God’s Mighty Deeds of Salvation, Second Edition

Worship is a means through which we can see, hear, smell, taste, feel, and come into contact with the infinite. Therefore the arts can mediate the message of Christ and minister to me in the depth of my being. . . . The future of the arts in worship, I believe, holds considerable promise for us in our continued discovery of worship as a verb.

-Robert Webber, Worship Is a Verb: Celebrating God’s Mighty Deeds of Salvation, Second Edition

Good art “speaks to me. It makes me listen. It forms me.” . . . Somehow the art in worship surrounds me and gathers me up into itself. Like music, it enters into my soul and abides there. During the week it becomes a dominant image in my experience and pulls me to dwell on the theme and allows the theme to dwell in me. In this way, it forms me and energizes my spiritual pilgrimage.

-Robert Webber, Worship Is a Verb: Celebrating God’s Mighty Deeds of Salvation, Second Edition

The function of art in worship is similar to the role of the clean house, the beautifully decorated dining room, and the lovingly prepared meal in a birthday celebration. It embodies the occasion in such a way that the event is served. Just as the house, the table, and the food [turns a] birthday into a special occasion, so art forms turn worship into a special event, serving it, assisting it, creating it.

-Robert Webber, Worship Is a Verb: Celebrating God’s Mighty Deeds of Salvation, Second Edition