Thursday, September 13, 2007

Archbishop William Temple on Worship

I read an essay on worship this morning by Matt Redman entitled “Revelation and Response.” It included one of my favorite definitions of worship by William Temple (1881-1944).

Temple was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1942-1944. That doesn’t mean much to most American Protestants that I know. Basically that means that he was the head of the Church of England (with which our Episcopal brothers and sisters in the US are associated, if I’m not mistaken). At the very least, we can assume that one who has arrived at that position of honor and responsibility has enough theological scholarship under his belt that we would be wise to pay attention to some of what he has said or written.

The Wikipedia entry I consulted for background information on William Temple included yet another statement he made. It is a cogent point deserving of attention:

The church is the only society that exists for the benefit of those who are not its members.

That means that church is not about the members getting our needs and wants satisfied; it is about equipping and motivating us the members to bless others in the love of Christ.

The Wikipedia article also had Temple’s definition of worship, but in a slightly different format than the one I knew; and it included a line at the beginning and at the end that I had not encountered before (included in bold type above and below the familiar format of the quote).

Worship is the submission of all of our nature to God.
To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God,
To feed the mind with the truth of God,
To purge the imagination by the beauty of God,
To open the heart to the love of God,
To devote the will to the purpose of God.
And all this gathered up in adoration is the greatest of human expressions of which we are capable.

That’s enough to think about for now.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home