N. Graham Standish writing for the Alban Institute:
For most of my life I have really disliked worship. My wife tells me that if I weren't a pastor, I would never go to worship. Fifteen years ago she was right about that, although I have managed to change over time. I am a constant tinkerer when it comes to designing worship, always working with our staff and members to figure out how to tweak our worship in a way that will touch people and open them to what I think is paramount in a worship service: encountering and experiencing God in a way that transforms us, even if just a little bit.
The unfortunate reality is that in North American society, neither the surrounding culture nor the church culture embraces the transforming encounter with God. Many mainline churches quit asking long ago whether our worship leads people to an encounter with Christ and the Holy Spirit. Think about why we do what we do in worship. Do we worship the way we do because it is how we have always done it? Do we worship the way we do because it is what we are best at? Do we worship the way we do because it makes certain members of the church happy? These reasons reside at the center of what has caused so many people to walk away from the church. Many people have wanted a tangible, transforming encounter with God but have never found it in worship, because worship has been focused on everything but that transforming encounter. To foster an encounter with God means designing worship that is deliberately focused on making a spiritual and psychological impact on people. If people are to experience God in worship, it needs to resonate with where they are psychologically and spiritually. If we don’t offer people a venue through which they can access the spiritual, they will gladly find some other venue or ignore their spiritual yearnings and substitute the pursuits and pleasures of the world. ....
The church has to adapt its worship because our culture doesn’t recognize the value of worship when done as it was in generations past. Each generation is different in what it resonates with because over time the culture changes. The result is that worship rooted in previous generations loses its power to connect with each succeeding generation and leads us to address spiritual questions that are no longer being asked, or at least not being asked in a way that can be addressed in forms familiar to today's older generations.
Do you agree? If so, what kind of changes would you propose in Episcopal worship?