Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The interplay between the altar and the pulpit

The late John Claypool was an Episcopalian priest that started off as a Southern Baptist minister.  This binocular vision provided him with a wonderful insight into many aspects of worship.  I especially like his take on the "interplay between altar and table."

"I have found the interplay between the altar and the pulpit to be mutually supportive and creative. Kneeling at the altar before a mystery I cannot fathom keeps me from being fanatical and arrogant in the pulpit, while attempting to make as much sense as possible of life and the gospel in the pulpit keeps the altar from degenerating into mindless ‘mumbo-jumbo.’ The Church has always known a feeding of both kinds, and I cherish the opportunity to spend the last phase of my ministry in this particular room of God’s Great Church" (Claypool, The Preaching Event, 2).

My particular room of God's Great Church tends to emphasize the practical to the expense of the mysterious. I wonder how a renewal of the table's presence in worship might help balance our experience?  

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