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A place for conversations about worship in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), including the proposed revisions to the Directory for Worship. 

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September 29, 2014

Directory for Worship: Chapter One

The first chapter of the proposed revision to the PC(USA) Directory for Worship centers around what we can affirm about Christian worship in a broad, ecumenical sense: the story of God’s gracious, saving work in history that we proclaim; the presence of the Jesus Christ in Word and Sacrament; and our reliance on the gifts of the Holy Spirit in the worship, ministry, and mission of the church. This chapter includes insight on Time, Space, and Matter—the “when, where, and what” of how we worship God. It also contains a section on Language, Symbols, and Culture, which describes how we experience Jesus Christ—God’s Word made flesh—through the words of Scripture, images and actions from everyday life, and patterns of human life in community.

This chapter of the revision is primarily composed from elements of the first chapter in the current Directory, “The Dynamics of Christian Worship,” but in language that is simpler and more concise, accessible to a wider range of readers. The revision introduces distinct sections on the Holy Spirit and Culture, a change from the current Directory for Worship.


Questions for Reflection or Discussion

Read this section of the proposed revision, ideally alongside relevant sections in the current Directory for Worship.

(1) How would you summarize the story of salvation—especially as it relates to worship? What theological themes would you emphasize? Why are Word and Sacrament so important?

(2) How do we “keep time” in worship—through the day, the week, and the year? What makes a particular place appropriate for worship? Why do material things matter in worship?

(3) Why are words, symbols, and actions so important in Christian worship? How are words, symbols, and actions used differently in different congregations or cultural contexts?


EMAIL COMMENTS on the proposed revision to the Directory for Worship. For official consideration in subsequent drafts of the revision, all comments must be received in writing at this address by July 1, 2015.

Tags: chapter one, directory for worship, presbyterian