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When in Rome...

For my Worship Leadership class, we are required to visit two different types of churches (different from each other, and different from our own denomination) and to write papers where we discuss what we saw in the worship services that might be instructive for our own worship. So, a couple of weeks ago, I attended a Sunday evening Catholic mass with a couple who are my friends and members of the church. It was a very interesting assignment, so I published the paper that I wrote, which you can read here.

Also, if you want to read through the liturgy of a Catholic mass, you can see it here.

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"When in Rome" ... ha ha.

I had to do this precise paper (except we had to do 4 churches) for my theology of worship senior seminar, and really enjoyed it. What other church did you visit (or intend to visit)?

I've enjoyed Catholic mass myself on several occasions, though the fact that I don't know what's going to happen next is distracting, though I'm sure that would fade with regular attendance. I've always liked the purpose and physical gesture of making the sign of the cross, but seeing as that is so thoroughly "Catholic" (and thus totally wrong for many Protestants) I can't imagine how a non-Catholic church would incorporate it, or how a Protestant could do it without creating a stir. Some emergent churches however, are exploring use of Catholic symbolism and physical gestures like the sign of the cross in their services as I think they too, see the significance of it.

I will be attending a Greek Orthodox church next. Unfortunately, I guess that I don't get to stay for the whole thing (only GO members get to stay for communion), but it is supposed to be a very unique service.

I just reread your comment about making the sign of the cross and I finally understood which part of my paper you were talking about. (Sorry--I'm pretty dense entirely too often.)

I think that was just poor writing on my part because I kind of brought up the whole issue, but I didn't really mean to make it a suggestion for how to improve worship among Protestants. I am not a huge fan of it myself, but I was more interested in their use of it to bring their baptism up at every worship service. I don't know that I have a theological problem with it, but I just wouldn't generally use it myself. Maybe that's a personal hang-up that I'll get over one day, but I just wanted to clarify that.

When you go to the Greek Orthodox church, count how many different icons there are. Just try. :) But more particularly, have you studied much about icons? Like how to recognize the various saints and apostles, what gestures mean what, etc.

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