Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Different Worship Styles - Same God

On Sunday we as a family participated in worship services of two VERY different styles. The fascinating thing is that the worship was directed to the same God: the Triune God of the bible.

As usual, we worshiped with our Chevis Oaks Baptist Church family during our morning and evening services. The worship style at Chevis Oaks is fairly standard for a Southern Baptist church. A visitor would probably say that joy dominates our worship services. We also tend to be informal. Although we are certainly reverent, our behavior most likely does not suggest that we are in awe at the presence of God during a gathering. I must say that at the conclusion of our services I always feel edified and loved.

After the evening service we made a quick stop at Wendy's. After that, we did something different. Instead of going home, we drove into the historic district of Savannah to attend Christ Church Savannah's Compline service. Christ Church is a member of the Anglican province of Uganda (this basically means that they preach, teach, and believe the biblical gospel).

Christ Church Savannah was founded in 1733. It was Georgia's first church. While in America, John Wesley (yes, that John Wesley) led this congregation. A few years after Wesley, George Whitefield (yes, that George Whitefield) took charge of this body.

The current church building (pictured here) was constructed in 1838. As we walked into the building, we were struck by what we saw. The candlelight atmosphere, stained-glass windows, and silence of the people present combined to generate a sense of reverence and awe. The Compline service, which takes place each Sunday at 9 PM, is a Christian service "dating back to monastic life in the Middle Ages." During the service, a choir sang from the balcony. The musical pieces were relatively short, holding to the Gregorian Chant style of hundreds of years ago. We greatly enjoyed this 30 minute respite.

What we experienced at Chevis Oaks differed greatly from what happened at Christ Church. Was one style better than another? Was one more acceptable to God than another? I do not think so. The key is that the services were biblical. The gospel was proclaimed in different ways, in different atmospheres. However, it was the same gospel.

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