Thankful Praise: A Resource for Christian Worship (1987)   2 comments

Disciples of Christ 1941-2003

Above:  Official Worship Resources of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 1941-2003

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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Some time ago I wrote about other worship resources of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) at this weblog.  At those times I lacked a copy of Thankful Praise (1987).  Now, however, I have obtained and studied a copy, fortunately.

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has, since its founding, observed the Lord’s Supper weekly and emphasized it as the central act of Christian worship.  As “The Renewal of Worship” section of Thankful Praise tells the reader, the relationship between the sermon and the sacrament, as in which one culminates the worship, has varied from congregation to congregation over time.  The dominant tendency since the 1950s “has been to return to the earlier pattern with communion coming as a response to and fulfillment of the proclamation of God’s Word.”  Nevertheless,

worship in many Disciples congregations today is less vigorous than it ought to be.  Our celebrations of the Lord’s Supper often seem to have lost their connection to the historic faith that gives them depth and seem out of touch with contemporary resources of spiritual energy.  Thus, in Disciples congregations, too, the life of thankful praise is in great need of renewal.

–Page 16

Thus Thankful Praise exists not to dictate how worship ought to occur but to offer suggestions to congregational leaders.  Five authors–Ronald J. Allen, Michael K. Kinnamon, Linda McKiernan-Allen, Katherine G. Newman Kinnamon, and Keith Watkins–wrote the 192-page book, which Watkins edited.  Many of the suggestions are wonderful.

Thankful Praise exists in the context of other official volumes; none of the subsequent books duplicates any part of it.  G. Edwin Osborn edited Christian Worship:  A Service Book (1953), the first complete volume of its sort for the denomination.  This book, containing 598 pages, was a companion to Christian Worship:  A Hymnal (1941), a joint project with the Northern (later American) Baptist Convention (later Churches in the U.S.A.).  That hymnal’s successor, the Hymnbook for Christian Worship (1970), also a joint project with the American Baptists, contained a minimum of worship resources.  Thankful Praise (1987) broke new ground, offering fresh resources and banishing archaic language.  The worship resources section of Chalice Hymnal (1995) and the entirety of Chalice Worship (1997) duplicate no part of the 1987 book.  And there are no worship resources in Chalice Praise (2003), a collection of 190 of the allegedly “best and often the freshest of songs that characterize contemporary Christian music” (page vi), an oxymoron if I have ever heard one.

Thankful Praise sets forth “An Order for the Sunday Service” in five parts, with extensive commentary.  The first part is “The Community Comes Together to Serve God in Worship.”  The elements are, verbatim:

  1. Gathering of the Community,
  2. Opening Music,
  3. Greeting,
  4. Hymn, and
  5. Opening Prayer(s).

The second part is “The Community Proclaims the Word of God.  The elements are, verbatim:

  1. First Reading from the Bible,
  2. Psalm or Other Response,
  3. Second or Other Response,
  4. Reading from the Gospel, and
  5. Sermon.

Part Three is “The Community Responds to the Word of God.”  The elements are, verbatim:

  1. Call to Discipleship,
  2. Hymn,
  3. Affirmation of Faith, and
  4. Prayers of the People.

The fourth part is “The Community Comes Together Around the Lord’s Table.”  The elements are, verbatim:

  1. Invitation to the Lord’s Table,
  2. Offering,
  3. Prayers at the Table,
  4. Words of Institution and Breaking of Bread,
  5. Lord’s Prayer,
  6. Peace,
  7. Communion, and
  8. Prayer After Communion.

The final part of the order of service is “The Community Goes Forth to Serve God in Mission.”  The elements are, verbatim:

  1. Hymn,
  2. Closing Words, and
  3. Closing Music.

Seasonal resources fill pages 59-153.  There one may find examples of many of the aforementioned elements of worship, as well as a form for the Lighting of Advent Candles and a rite for meditating on the Cross.

One Prayer of Confession for the Christmas season caught my attention and won my favor more so than most other offerings in Thankful Praise.  If you like the prayer also, O reader, you might want to purchase a copy of the book.

God, we confess that ours is still a world

in which Herod seems to rule:

the powerful are revered,

the visions of the wise are ignored,

the poor are afflicted,

and the innocent are killed.

You show us that salvation comes

in the vulnerability of a child,

yet we hunger for the “security” of weapons and walls.

You teach us that freedom comes in loving service,

yet we trample on others in our efforts to be “free.”

Forgive us, God, when we look to the palace

instead of the stable,

when we heed politicians more than prophets.

Renew us with the spirit of Bethlehem,

That we may be better prepared for your coming.

Amen.

–Page 68

The volume ends with twenty-two Psalms keyed to the church year, a guide to the Common Lectionary, and one page of acknowledgments.

Thankful Praise, intended for the use of those who plan and lead congregational worship, can also function nicely as a supplement to one’s regular devotional resources.  This is especially true for those of us outside of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

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BIBLIOGRAPHY OF HARDCOPY SOURCES

Chalice Hymnal.  St. Louis, MO:  Chalice Press, 1995.

Chalice Praise.  Edited by David P. Polk.  St. Louis, MO:  Chalice Press, 2003.

Chalice Worship.  Compiled and Edited by Colbert S. Cartwright and O. I. Cricket Harrison.  St. Louis, MO:  Chalice Press, 1997.

Christian Worship:  A Hymnal.  Philadelphia, PA:  Judson Press, 1941.

Christian Worship:  A Service Book.  Edited by G. Edwin Osborn.  St. Louis, MO:  Christian Board of Publication, 1953.

Hymnbook for Christian Worship.  St. Louis, MO:  Bethany Press, 1970.

Thankful Praise:  A Resource for Christian Worship.  Edited by Keith Watkins.  St. Louis, MO:  CBP Press, 1987.

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KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 7, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF EUSTACE CONDER, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT HEDDA OF WESSEX, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINTS RALPH MILNER AND ROGER DICKENSON, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS

THE FEAST SAINT THOMAS MORE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MORE

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2 responses to “Thankful Praise: A Resource for Christian Worship (1987)

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  1. Pingback: Guide to Posts About Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Worship | BLOGA THEOLOGICA

  2. Pingback: Guide to Posts About the American Baptist Churches U.S.A. | BLOGA THEOLOGICA

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