Sunday Worship: Starting a Fire from Scratch

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CastawayYou’ve probably seen the 2000 movie Cast Away featuring Tom Hanks playing Chuck Noland, a lone plane crash survivor on an uninhabited island. Early in the movie, Noland realized he couldn’t live without fire. So in the following scene he offered us a glimpse of his resolve, despair, anger and even humor as he labored over trying to start a fire from scratch.

Worship leaders can experience similar emotions when they are expected to light a fire each Sunday with the opening song. And even though congregants might not have done anything to help stir those embers during the week, how easily they can blame the music or musicians when the spark is not there.

If we are not careful, our actions can imply that time and place worship is the primary, if not only venue for worship, while the remainder of our life falls into another category.[1] Consequently, every Sunday can end up being a frustrating exercise in trying to start a fire from scratch.

Because of the laborious task of fire starting, ancient nomadic people began to use earthenware vessels called fire pots. They would carry embers or slow-burning fires in these pots with them as they traveled from one location to another. Just by adding small quantities of kindling for fuel they could keep those mini fires alive, enabling them to quickly ignite larger fires when they united as a group for their evening camps.

What if we had that same understanding of worship and saw it not as a fire to start each week, but a flame that can be taken with us? Then it could continue as we leave the service. It could happen in our homes, at our schools and through our work. It couldn’t be contained in a single location, context, culture, style, artistic expression or vehicle of communication. Consequently, instead of depending on our worship leaders to start the fire from scratch when we gather, they could just help us fan those flames that already exist.

 

“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1).

 

[1] Harold M. Best, Unceasing Worship: Biblical Perspectives on Worship and the Arts (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2003), 9.

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4 Responses to “Sunday Worship: Starting a Fire from Scratch”

  • The Key to Restarting the Worship Fire Each Week Says:

    […] if not only, venue for worship, while the remainder of our life falls into another category.[1] Consequently, every Sunday can end up being a frustrating exercise in trying to start a fire from […]

  • The Key to Restarting the Worship "Fire" Each Week • ChurchLeaders.com Says:

    […] if not only, venue for worship, while the remainder of our life falls into another category.[1] Consequently, every Sunday can end up being a frustrating exercise in trying to start a fire from […]

  • David Manner Says:

    I think your follow up question was the correct response, Mike. It indicates you have a good understanding of continuous worship.

  • Michael Murray Says:

    I recently read a tweet from a church stating that “worship begins at 10:30 am”. I knew what they meant but It made me question, which I have learned from you David Manner, that worship can’t begin and end with a church service. In my response, I asked if Sunday was a time for worshipers to gather? I probably still don’t have it right but this article gives a really good perspective on this issue.

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