taking the words of Jesus seriously

High Chancellor Gorkon raises his glass and offers a toast: “I offer a toast to the undiscovered country.” And then Spock chimes in: “Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1.” The scene goes on to reveal that each group does not understand the language and actions of the other, but they are willing to be at Table together, uncomfortable though it may be. Both realize that they must forge together. And then a Klingon asks Captain Kirk if he would be willing to leave Star Fleet, intimating that for the future to happen, something must be given up.

I did not know when I was a girl watching the various iterations of Star Trek with my daddy that it would be helpful in church dynamics, much less worship planning. But often I return to my favorite Star Trek movie, The Undiscovered Country,  and find that from early on I was being formed to bring people that have differing cultural assumptions–differing languages– together at the Table.

How often I find myself in churches, arguments spewing on which language (traditional, contemporary, emergent or other) Shakespeare sounds best recited in worship? I wonder though, are we, those who find ourselves at the table of the church, week to week, using what we thought was ours? Do we just use words that we have seen over and over without giving though to them, what they say to others, what they truly mean to the sacred outsider? Or do we find ourselves trying our best, difficult though it may be, to use a language that speaks to those we have often disagreed with, or those that are the un-, de-, or not-yet-churched? How far are we willing to go to spend our word capital on “those Klingons?”

Paul understood something of using words. In Romans he writes: “First, there’s the matter of being put in charge of writing down and caring for God’s revelation, these Holy Scriptures. So, what if, in the course of doing that, some of those Jews abandoned their post? God didn’t abandon them. Do you think their faithlessness cancels out his faithfulness? Not on your life! Depend on it: God keeps his word even when the whole world is lying through its teeth. Scripture says the same: Your words stand fast and true; Rejection doesn’t faze you. But if our wrongdoing only underlines and confirms God’s right-doing, shouldn’t we be commended for helping out? Since our bad words don’t even make a dent in his good words, isn’t it wrong of God to back us to the wall and hold us to our word? These questions come up. The answer to such questions is no, a most emphatic No! How else would things ever get straightened out if God didn’t do the straightening?” Romans 3:2-6, from The Message

When it comes to inviting people to our sacred space, sitting with them in the realm of God at the expansive Table, I really do not think it matters if it was an ancient, traditional or the new-found alternative term. (see chart below) What I think matters more is that they are invited. And that when they come, how awkward or welcoming will we find ourselves? In the context of your worship gathering, I’m wondering if you are the Klingon or the Trekkie? Are you revealing the love that God is engendering among us, or perpetuating a trite and tired myth of how it used to be?

Later the Trekkies must say goodbye to the Klingons and on departing the Chancellor remarks to Captain Kirk: “You don’t trust me; I don’t blame you. If there is to be a brave new world, our generation is going to the have the hardest time living in it.”

ANCIENT TERM TRADITIONAL TERM ALTERNATIVE TERM
The Great Entrance Call to Worship Gathering
Hymns Hymns Songs
The Kyrie Prayers of Confession Prayers of Confession or Prayers and Meditation
The Gloria Doxology ——-
The Collect Invocation Opening Prayer
Lections Scripture Readings The Word
Homily Sermon Message
The Nicene Creed Statement of Faith Affirmation
Prayer of the Faithful Pastoral Prayer Prayers
Kiss of Peace Sign of Peace Sharing Peace
Offertory Offering Sharing Gifts
Presentation of the Elements Blessing the Elements Setting the Table
Invitation to Prayer Invitation to Prayer Praying Together
Communion Rite Great Thanksgiving Table Invitation
Lord’s Prayer Lord’s Prayer Lord’s Prayer
Eucharist Lord’s Supper Communion or Table
Benediction Sending Blessing

Taken from BRIM: Creative Overflow in Worship Design, © 2013 Chalice Press, by Suzanne Castle & Andra Moran. To purchase print, ebook, or iBook, go to www.chalicepress.com or visit www.Brimproject.com.




About The Author

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Suzanne Castle serves churches as an artist, teacher, speaker, pastor and worship architect. Suzanne is a popular speaker on the intersection of culture and the church and creativity. She is proud of her latest creative activity captured in book form: Brim–Creative Overflow in Worship Design, with co-author Andra Moran.

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