A talk from Senior Pastor Steve Jones about how we see and do gathered worship in OCC.
In our worship service yesterday, worship leader Chris Fulton said, at one point, "We have no plan! Over to you!" I don't know how you responded to that? Did you see it as an act of brave faith, or of reckless leadership?
"We have no pre-determined plan! Let's see what God does as we meet!" has long been a core practice of our sort of church. When I found myself becoming part of Oxford Community Church in the 1980s, it was standard practice to meet for what some call 'open worship' - and we used to call 'body meetings'.
One of the things we've seen in lockdown is that good relationships withstand separation.
You might have been unable to visit an elderly relative as they struggled to cope with isolation, or missed a good friend that you've longed to spend unhurried time with? Or perhaps you are one half of a love-struck dating couple that have not been able to see each other for ages!?
Withdrawal of 'visiting privileges' has been one of the human costs of tackling this virus, and as restrictions eases in the UK, we're rushing to reconnect with relatives, friends and 'significant others'.
If you've ever been to an OCC meeting, you will know that we value participation. We see gathered worship as a participatory thing, not simply a service to attend passively. Everyone gets to play a part; not just those on the rota for the morning!
We draw this from the Apostle Paul's first letter to the Corinthians (1Co), which variously deals with various aspects of worship gatherings, including the Lord's supper (chapters 10-11), spiritual gifts in worship (12-14), preaching (1-2,9,15), baptism (1,10) and offerings (16:1-4).