For those of you who aren’t familiar, the Confessional Lutherans for Christ’s Commission (CLCC) is an organization which fosters “a united and coordinated voice among Confessional Lutherans and to build up Christ’s Church by providing education and training primarily for the laity, but also including commissioned workers and the clergy.” Among other things, they offer Parish Workshops, designed to be led by your pastor (or they can be led by a qualified CLCC instructor) as a half-day study, or other format such as an extended Bible class. Their newest Workshop is titled New Testament Houses of Worship, and comes in the form of a Powerpoint presentation on CD.
New Testament Houses of Worship walks you through the history of the places of Christian worship, along with what goes on inside them, from the early Church to the present day (with an Old Testament reference here and there as well). It entwines various topics to create a comprehensive picture, including art, architecture, music, and history, as well as the thought of various denominations and theological leanings through the centuries (such as Roman Catholic, Reformed, Russian and Eastern Orthodoxy, pietism, and non-denominational).
It also examines some of the nuts and bolts of the liturgy, and offers a good discussion on the issue of uniformity in the worship of the Church, as well as other subjects such as reverence, the direction of words and actions, and the significance of hymns, the Sacraments, and the Law/Gospel paradigm. They also contrast a present day Lutheran versus non-denominational worship service, breaking down why things look a certain way, and how practices vary based on theology.
Since topics are covered from many different directions, attendees should be challenged to think as they put all the pieces together to form a more “holistic” picture of God’s places of worship. So, if you’ve never seen a rood screen, or you don’t really know why the church down the street has no altar, or you’re not sure if a synaxis is something you attend or something you grease, this will be a great learning opportunity.
For more information, check out their Parish Workshop page.
photo credit: Brontolone Salvatore on flickr