Gordon Lathrop

Document Type


Publication Date




Christian corporate worship has biblical foundations. This is so, of course, in the most obvious ways: at the heart of the meeting the book called the Bible is read and then interpreted as having to do with us. Sometimes, as ceremonial preface to that reading, the book is carried about, even enthroned. Furthermore, the text of the Bible provides the source of the imagery and, often, the very form and quality of the language in prayers, chants, hymn texts, and sermons. Psalms are sung as if that ancient collection were for our singing. Snatches of old biblical letters are scattered throughout the service, as if we were addressed. Frequently images and texts drawn from the Bible adorn the room which provides a place for the meeting. The very actions of the gathering may seem like the Bible alive: an assembly gathers, as the people gathered at the foot of Mt. Sinai; arms are upraised in prayer or blessing, as Moses raised his arms; the holy books are read, as Ezra read to the listening people; the people hold a meal, as the disciples did gathered together after the death of Jesus. To come into the meeting seems like coming into a world determined by the language of the Bible.

Included in

Religion Commons