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Thinking the Faith, Praying the Faith, Living the Faith is written by the PC(USA) Office of Theology and Worship.

Thinking, praying, and living the faith is at the core of ministry in the Office of Theology and Worship. In the following videos, learn more about what thinking, praying, and living the faith means to the leadership of the Office of Theology and Worship. Discover why it matters and what difference it makes in our lives, work, and worship.  

Charles Wiley  
Barry Ensign-George
David Gambrell
Christine Hong 
Karen Russell

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Posts with tag: worship

April 8, 2014

Please and Thank You

The primary purpose of Christian worship is, of course, simply giving glory to God. But worship also provides us with regular opportunities to practice the theological habits of grace and gratitude. Like learning to say “please” and “thank you” at home, worship seeks to shape us in a way of life that befits God’s holy realm, our eternal home.

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March 6, 2014

Back to Basics on Ash Wednesday

In the congregation where I worship, I have the solemn joy of visiting each class of children’s choirs and talking to them about Ash Wednesday. Last night was the third year running … which means we’ve now entered the realm of sacred and inviolable tradition.

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July 22, 2013

If You're Happy and You Know It

The words and gestures of the liturgy ought to work this way. A simple phrase, such as "The Lord be with you," is intended to evoke an immediate, almost instinctive response: not only the verbal rejoinder "And also with you," but a sense of community, a shared way of faith and life, and an entry into prayerful participation. A simple gesture, such as the lifting of open, outstretched hands in prayer, ought to direct our hearts to the worship of God, alert our minds to the presence of Christ, and connect our souls in the communion of the Spirit.

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October 30, 2012

What If

If we tell the truth about our mistakes and God-neediness, we’re afraid others will ridicule, condemn, or reject us (like Christ on the cross?).

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October 5, 2012

Vatican 2 at Fifty

Last night I had the honor and joy of participating in a worship service at Bellarmine University to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the convocation of the Second Vatican Council. On October 4, 1962, the feast of Saint Francis, Pope John XXIII went to Assisi to pray for the council. The service included the prayer that Pope John XXIII used to convene the council, subsequently prayed by the bishops at the opening of each session.

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September 18, 2012

Keep the Feast

Recently someone asked me why the word “festival” is used to describe all those “red-letter days” in the Christian year—like Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost, but also Baptism, Transfiguration, and Ascension of the Lord, among others.

A teachable moment!* We have nearly forgotten that “festival” originally meant “of or pertaining to a feast” (Oxford English Dictionary). We’ve come to think of “festival” in a more general way, as a grand gala or communal celebration—like a music festival or an arts festival. But a festival, at least in the original sense, is meant to center around a meal. You can’t have ...

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September 8, 2012

I Love to Tell the Story

One of the things I love about the forthcoming (2013) Presbyterian hymnal, Glory to God, is that it is shaped by a story -- the story of our salvation in Jesus Christ.

There are lots of ways to organize a hymnal: topical categories, theological doctrines, liturgical seasons, even alphabetical order (we tried that with the Worshipbook). But Glory to God is shaped by the story of salvation history.

The first half of the hymnal, therefore, is all about Christian faith, telling the story of God's Mighty Acts. It begins before the beginning, with hymns and songs about the Triune God ...

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September 2, 2012

The Church Needs a Table

On the way home from worship today I heard a (rerun) episode of America's Test Kitchen Radio. Host Christopher Kimball was interviewing Mary Roach, author of Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, about what and how astronauts eat in space. This exchange caught my attention:

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August 16, 2012

Love is All You Need

Love is always patient and kind, it is never jealous, love is never boastful nor conceited, it is never rude or selfish, it does not take offense, and is not resentful...

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August 8, 2012

Stewards of the Mysteries

Think of us in this way, as servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries. (I Cor. 4:1) 


 If you receive the Font and Table enews (which is what this originally appeared as), you hear a lot about Invitation to Christ from us.  Well, it’s in the process of being extended to other Reformed bodies as well.  

The Association for Reformed and Liturgical Worship (AR&LW) has requested permission to make the original PCUSA Invitation to Christ more broadly Reformed in order to extend the Invitation to other Reformed bodies.  This has been granted and ...

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July 13, 2012

There Isn't a "Me" in Community?

This week one particular article piqued my interest.

I was initially taken with the article’s title, “Books Increasingly Show It’s All About Me”.  I’m interested in anything that might shore up my feeling that it really is all about me. 

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June 26, 2012

Give Them Somthing To Eat

I’m going to let you in on a secret about the lectionary. Not many of us know or remember that the Revised Common Lectionary was designed to be a eucharistic lectionary. That is to say, the readings for Sundays and festivals of the Christian year were selected with the weekly celebration of the Lord’s Supper in mind.

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June 6, 2012

Sharing Christ

People gathering in a "sanctuary" (or safe place) to share the word, to share "common food," and then being sent to share Christ with others—it sounds an awful lot like "doing what the church does" when we gather in the presence of Christ around Word and Table.  

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May 2, 2012

Song and Sacrament

One of the strong signs of sacramental renewal in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is the expansion of our repertoire of hymns and songs about Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

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April 10, 2012

In the Breaking of the Bread

What was so important about the breaking of the bread that—after walking and talking with Jesus, after hearing him teach the scriptures and preach the gospel—this was the sign that finally opened their eyes?

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April 7, 2012

Lessons from the Easter Vigil

We're celebrating the Easter Vigil this evening in the congregation where I worship. If you've never had the opportunity to participate in the Easter Vigil, it's the "swiss army knife" of liturgies. It's got everything ...

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March 30, 2012

A Prayer of Confession for March Madness

In between scouring the internet for new articles about the tournament, showing off my Sports Illustrated cover, and running to the store to buy a new UK shirt, I read this verse last night in my one-year-Bible:

But watch yourselves! Otherwise, your heart might be led astray so you stray away, serving other gods and worshipping them.

Deuteronomy 11:16

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September 7, 2011

This Bread

When the church gathers at Christ's table we are like grain -- once scattered over the hills, now gathered into one whole loaf, gathered from the ends of the earth.

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August 18, 2011

Evening Prayer at the Airport

I usually don't enjoy hanging out in airports. This evening, though, while waiting for a flight, I wandered into the chapel / mosque at Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) just in time for evening prayer.

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July 22, 2011

Bread of Life

A desperate situation continues to develop in the Horn of Africa: food crisis, drought, and famine are putting ten million people at risk of starvation. As the body of Christ, how are we called to respond?

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July 6, 2011

Big Tent, Big Font

Given that the theme for the 2011 Big Tent Event was "Grow Christ's Church Deep and Wide" we wanted to have a deep and wide font as a sign of the source of Christian life and identity: our baptism into the name of the triune God.

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June 29, 2011

The Worship Curmudgeon: Call Us to Confession



“Let’s now say together the prayer of confession.”  That’s how one ill-trained liturgist called us to confession one Sunday.  There was actually no call to confession, just an announcement that said, in effect, “Ok, we’re gonna do this now, folks.”  Argh!

Apt sinners that we are, we need called (dragged?) to confession.  Without a call to confession, we have no idea why we’re saying we’re sorry to God.  Without it, a confession of sin feels like we’re going to say I’m sorry because our mother told us we had to apologize to our ...

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June 14, 2011

Confessing the Faith on Trinity Sunday

This Sunday is Trinity Sunday. How will your congregation confess the faith?

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June 1, 2011

Our Daily Bread

There is at least one celebration of the Eucharist each day at the National Cathedral. The only time in recent memory when that celebration was in question was Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

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