Paul tells the Thessalonians to "always rejoice" (I Thess. 5:16). How could they always rejoice? How can we?
I was “on duty” the night he passed. He called out for me twice during the night, to adjust his oxygen flow. I couldn’t fix it. Several hours later he called out again, needing the oxygen. I searched the machine and its parts, but could find no way to increase airflow through the tube. That conversation with my father about his air was the last one I had with him. I fell into my bed at 5 a.m. and was awakened at 8:30 by my mother, telling me my dad had died.
That’s not the way things are supposed to happen.
Most Churches of Christ are accustomed to what might be called a “low-church” style of worship. The phrase “low-church” can mean a variety of things, but it certainly includes the idea that words should be, or at least should appear to be, unscripted. Prayers especially should be extemporaneous. The assumption is that a written prayer that is read cannot be heartfelt. Is this right?
The impulse in Churches of Christ to shun a scripted liturgy is one that goes back to the Protestant Reformation. At the dawn of the Reformation, the worst liturgical displays of the Western Church featured priests mumbling prayers from a Latin script that the congregation often, and the priest himself occasionally, could not understand. Reformers, following Paul (1 Corinthians 14), insisted that the word should be intelligibly spoken for all to hear and understand. So they all eventually translated their liturgies into the vernacular.