September 19, 2020

Post-evangelical Worship: The soli deo liturgy

Hands at rail.jpgWhat does a post-evangelical worship gathering look like? This is the soli deo worship service for this coming Tuesday night. The responsive boldface is gone and the formatting is still set for two columns, but it’s all here. We don’t print all song lyrics in the liturgy if we have them on a handout, etc. Many of the responses are actually sung, such as the Alleluia, Holy Holy and Agnus Dei.

I’d welcome your comments and questions about this particular liturgy.

Sept 12, 2006

The Fourteenth Week of Pentecost in Ordinary Time

A call to worship

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord
Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:2)

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of
the Lord.” (Psalm 122:1)

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in you sight, O Lord, my strength and my
redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)

Send out your light and your truth, that they may lead me,
and bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling.
Psalm 43:3

Lift up your hearts!

We lift them up to the Lord!

Eternal, Almighty, and most gracious God: We have come to worship you. Our eyes are clouded by the dust of a fallen world. We see your glory, dimly revealed in creation and in each person made in your image. We hear the echoes of Eden in the sounds, sighs and songs of our world. Open our eyes to your glory. Tune our ears to your voice. Make our hearts alive to your truth. Remove the sin that clouds our vision of you. Wash away the grime of unrighteousness and heal our blindness. Make us sensitive to the voice of your Spirit moving over the words of Holy Scripture. As we worship you, exalt your Son, Jesus Christ, over all that has taken our gaze and focus away from him. Forgive, cleanse, renew, revive your people to do the joyful work of your Kingdom.

And so, gracious Father, we worship You now through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end, AMEN.

A Psalm (146)

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! 2 I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. 3 Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. 4 When his breath departs he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish. 5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, 6 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; 7 who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free; 8 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. 9 The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. 10 The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord!

Songs of worship

1. We have come to worship you….

2. Verse 1
Lord, You’re calling me to come
And behold the wondrous cross
To explore the depths of grace
That came to me at such a cost
Where Your boundless love
Conquered my boundless sin
And mercy’s arms were opened wide

My heart is filled with a thousand songs
Proclaiming the glories of Calvary
With every breath, Lord how I long
To sing of Jesus who died for me
Lord, take me deeper
Into the glories of Calvary

Verse 2
Sinners find eternal joy
In the triumph of Your wounds
By our Savior’s crimson flow
Holy wrath has been removed
And Your saints below
Join with your saints above
Rejoicing in the Risen Lamb

Hear The Word of God

An Older Testament Reading Isaiah 35:4-7

Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 6 then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; 7 the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

This is the Word of the Lord
Thanks Be To God

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be. World without end. Amen. Amen.

A Newer Testament Reading James 2:1-17

James 2:1 My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 2 For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3 and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place”, while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there”, or, “Sit down at my feet,” 4 have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called? 8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. 14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

This is the Word of the Lord
Thanks Be To God

Alleluia, Alleluia, Singing Alleluia

The Reading of the Holy Gospel Mark 7:31-37

Mk 7:31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32 And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33 And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. 34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

This is the Word of God for the people of God
Thanks be to God

Teaching from the Scriptures

Holy Holy, Holy Holy. Holy Holy, Lord God Almighty.
And we lift our hearts before you as a token of our love.
Holy Holy. Holy Holy

Almighty and most merciful Father,
we have erred and strayed from your ways like lost sheep,
we have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts,
we have offended against your holy laws,
we have left undone those things which we ought to have done,
and we have done those things which we ought not to have done.
But You, O Lord, have mercy upon us,
spare those who confess their faults,
restore those who are penitent,
according to your promises declared to mankind
in Christ Jesus our Lord;
and grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake, that we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, to the glory of your holy Name. Amen.

Prayers For All Those In Authority, Opportunity and Ministry

Intercessions and prayers of the people

Who is in a position to condemn?
Only Christ,
And Christ died for us,
Christ rose for us,
And Christ reigns in power for us.
Christ prays for us.
Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation.
The old life has gone; a new life has begun!
Brothers and sisters, believe the good news of the gospel:
In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.
In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven, Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

The Lord”s Supper

O Christ, thou Lamb of God, that takest away the sin of the world, have mercy upon us. (2x) O Christ, thou Lamb of God, that takest away the sin of the world, grant us thy peace.

The Apostle’s Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.

He descended into hell.

The third day He arose again from the dead.

He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy *catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.


Songs of Worship

1. Come All Christians Be Committed

A Prayer From “The Valley of Vision”



  1. Looks as if it could have come out of Common Worship from the C of E….

    That’s not a bad thing at all.

  2. Agree with custard.

    I have to ask Michael, though, in what sense is this “post-evangelical”? The recent posts on your notion of evangelicalism leave me wondering why the kind of Christianity you advocate wouldn’t better be called “pre-evangelical” or even “non-evangelical”. “post-” indicates something that is informed, shaped by, progresses from, or is in some reaction to what came before. Or is it “post-” only because you used to be, personally, what you now identify as evangelical?

  3. “Lift up your hearts!…” Hmmmmm….in the Anglican Mission in America church I was apart of for a while, we said that during the liturgy for Communion. Any reason for plunking it down there?

  4. We like it better in the context of a call to worship for the entirety of what we’re doing.

  5. Chronologically it is now impossible to be pre-evangelical. I think how you described what “post” indicates could be true of what I have seen Mr. Spencer articulate (see What Do I Mean by Post-Evangelical?).

    I mean that the death of evangelicalism opens the door for a return to the sources and a fresh examination of the meaning of Jesus.

  6. I really like your prayer at the beginning, with all the elements of gathering and preparation, confession and anticipation. I’m used to seeing the Creed closer to the start, but I like it at the end just the same.

    As a lifer in the evangelical universe, for me, the “post-” calls to mind a certain dissatisfaction and restlessness. Business as usual doesn’t cut it anymore. For a lot of years I was told that liturgy was a dead and empty repetition, but my experience tells me that this was a willfully ignorant lie. I’m glad to leave lies of this sort behind. From this angle, the post-evangelical is in the process of unlearning deep and nasty habits of many sorts. Our progress is often measured as much by what we un-learn, as what we learn.

    How does this sort of thing happen? Does everyone have a “Jerry Maguire” moment? Maybe, but in my case, quite by accident, I became a part of a small group of worshipers who discovered the joys of liturgy together. For three years we met at 8:00am, before our church’s contemporary service (with the guidance of two very experienced and gifted liturgists). When the church grew large enough for a “second service” we got squeezed out — to make room for the band to practice. I still miss that little service.

    I get the feeling that people who grew up surrounded by richer deeper traditions found our post-evangelical liturgical awakenings somewhat quaint. I can’t say that I blame them, after all, we were often like honeymooners who thought they had invented sex.

  7. One thing I noticed was that I didn’t see the “words of institution” or “consecration” before the Lord’s Supper. You know, the “he took the bread and brake it, saying, take, eat, this is my body which is broken for you…” part. Is that just an omission in this text, or do you not say it? I ask because, AFAIK, that’s a pretty ancient part of Christian liturgy (Paul mentions it in…1 or 2 Corinthians, I forget which, and the Didache, a document from, IIRC, around AD 100 or so, explicity mentions that part).

  8. The Lord’s Supper portion does have the words of instituion, etc, but is not responsive, so I don’t print it. It reflects our Baptist confessions on the LS.

  9. Sounds pretty much like what my church has been doing every Sunday for a very long time.

    You don’t need to come up with terms like ‘post-evangelical’, just shed the too-tight evangelical skin constricting you and join us in the Anglican fight song (sung to the tune of God bless America):

    “I am an Anglican,
    old C of E.
    Not a Presby
    or a Luthern,
    or a Baptist spitting foam!
    I am an Anglican
    – one step from Rome.
    I am an Anglican
    – one step from Rome!”

    Seriously, while ‘post-evangelical’ reflects your movement beyond the evangelical outlook, what you describe is a return to a very traditional sort of Christianity.

    In Judaism there is a term (baal teshuva, BT for short) for a formerly non-Orthodox Jew who has ‘returned’ by adopting Orthodox Judaism. Maybe we need to come up with something similar for disaffected evangelicals returning to traditional streams of Christianity?

  10. In the evangelical circles I have moved in, here in Austria, in the UK and in the US, generally liturgy is equated with repetitiveness and rote. I have observed that in most evangelical churches there is repetitiveness, even in the “open Brethren” or “Plymouth Brethren” meetings of my wife’s background: the same folks will say pretty much the same prayers, at the same point in the service, every Sunday.

    The difference between that kind of liturgy and that which Michael presents in this post is that the former is very subjective and reflects the current spiritual and emotional state of the people praying “spontaneously” and “as the Spirit moves”, while the latter is carefully crafted with the goal of picking up and bringing along the entire congregation before the throne of God.

    Over the years, even though I still call myself an Evangelical, I have come to appreciate this latter form of “repetitiveness” over the former — perhaps that is part of the reason for calling myself a “catholic Evangelical”.

    Question for Michael, as a matter of interest rather than criticism: does your communion liturgy include an epiclesis or just the words of institution?

  11. This is potentially the most divisive aspect of our worship, both from the standpoint of the differing backgruds of the participants and the perception of our group by our larger OBI community.

    So we stick to the words of scripture, right out of I Cor 11. I do a communion meditation- maybe 1-2 minutes- and then we hear the words from scripture, slightly expanded in the Celtic Prayer Book.

  12. Where do you get the tunes/music for the responsorial sections, if I may ask?

  13. Each one is a song we either know or I teach them. We’ve been working on the agnus dei from an old Lutheran hymnal. The Alleluia I picked up from a church I was visiting. Others are just well known choruses.

  14. Very nice. It’s similar to the typical Catholic liturgy.