Have You Noticed?

We’ve made it though our first question in organizing our new church in our Martian colony. I’d like to thank each and every one of you who responded and offered your thoughts about what we need to take with us so that we can have worship services on Sundays. Reading through your responses, I see a definite pattern: We don’t need anything special to worship together each week.

I must admit that I was a little surprised at that; has anyone noticed that if we don’t take anything with us for worship, we’ve chosen a ‘worship style’ by default?

One of you, my former neighbor Rob, asked if we need a clergyman or approval from a church body to establish a new church. A couple of you replied to Rob by saying essentially that we really don’t need any of that and even suggested that this would be an opportunity to return to the way church was “done” (my word) at the beginning and drop some of the baggage we’ve picked up over the centuries.  If that isn’t in line with your thinking, or if you think we need to be following any particular denominational lines that would require authorization, that would be hard to get after the fact.

Pete mentioned music, but no one has suggested we take any musical instruments or anything like that: Are you sure? Hey Pete, you might want to pack some music in your haversack!

If anyone has any further observations, please feel free to chime in!

OK, as we continue our discussion, someone says, “Maybe we should agree what Sunday worship looks like. For example, do we need music? How about Communion? Will there be a sermon or homily? Do we need prayer books? Will our worship be formal and traditional; that might be tough to pull off in that environment since we can’t have anything with an open flame (candles).”

OK colonists, this time you get to go first… What does corporate worship need to look like? Maybe we should take something with us after all…?

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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29 Responses to Have You Noticed?

  1. Pete says:

    For me worship isn’t worth it without music. But that’s because I’m a very musical person and maybe the others aren’t. I would like to have a guitar with us as long as somebody can play the guitar. I can pound out on a keyboard a little bit so that would be a nice thing to have to. But music would definitely be a part of the service.

    Communion would be good although I don’t feel that it needs to be done every week. In our church we do it once a month and to me that’s satisfactory.

    As I said before as part of the service we could start out with each one of us talking about a favorite scripture. Why we chose it. what it means to us. How it has helped us through the years. Any other observations about that particular scripture that you would like to share. If each one of us did that each week then we’d have 12 weeks taken care of.

    A prayer time would be good and asking for specific needs of people. Sharing our needs and then praying for one another is an essential part of worship as well.

    I would be content with that worship if those things are included. Nothing fancy. Just a group of people who want to tell the Lord they love him

  2. So, do we worship on the Sabbath or on Sunday? Clearly, were two or three are gathered together the Lord will be with us. Although I enjoy musical instruments, I’m not convinced we need them to truly worship our Father. It certainly would be helpful to have the Book of Psalms with us. I wonder if David played his harp as he wrote his portion of Psalms? You seemed to have roped me into this thread. 🙂

    • Don Merritt says:

      That hadn’t escaped my notice 😊
      As for the day, the OT has the Sabbath, the NT has the first day of week. I suppose we can do whatever we want on Mars: What do you think? Come to think of it, does anybody know how long a week is on Mars? Maybe I’ll look that up…

  3. When I was in college we had a different (at least to me) on-campus church called the Emmaus House, it was either a branch of the RCC or something with a similar structure (priest, confession, mass, etc.), never was sure. The liturgy was different from anything I’ve encountered before or since, I offer it here as a starting point.

    The “priest” would begin with a reading from the NT, provide a short homily, then open for discussion. During and after the discussion we shared a “common meal” of bread (leavened) and wine. Interspersed were appropriate songs (hymns?) sung a cappella.

    Prior to the liturgy there was the option for private confession with the priest, afterwards was the option for group confession. The advantage of the group confession was consolation from the group and guidance from those who had similar issues.

  4. I think we need a Bible at the very least.

  5. Tom says:

    Musical instruments could be brought, but not needed. I have sang many times around a campfire without an instrument.
    Communion does not need to be wine. It is not about the physical bread and wine, but about the heart and remembering what Jesus had done.

    God can place sermons on the heart for those who are willing to give one. It only requires God’s leading and a Bible and a word from God.

    The Bible is the best prayer book available. It has every type of prayer needed.
    As you can see I believe in traveling light and trusting God, His Holy Spirit and His Word—the Bible. This can work as it did for the apostles.

  6. I would say singing, reading of the scripture and prayer would be common ground for most people this post. I would say start with a the things we all agree are standard, then begin discussions on things not everyone agrees with to determine what else to add. The style of each item selected would be another discussions to have.

    • Don Merritt says:

      OK, that sounds reasonable.

    • Barbara Lane says:

      I agree with this – singing, reading of the scripture and prayer. And start with these basic things that we would probably all agree to. After worship we could have some interesting conversations about what else to add. Or, would we need to add more? I imagine the early church did not have much more than this except probably communion. Worship today has so much man-added things. It might be nice to get back to just basics.

  7. paulfg says:

    Dear fellow colonists, may I be allowed to make an observation of love and affection?

    One of us asked a question based very much on current “church think”. Yet all of us fell into line and followed suit. If we are to begin again as colonists of Mars – then either the current earthly church-think is the best that “corporate worship” can be, or we are too ingrained in that tradition to leave our comfortable “habits of form” behind.

    I have a suggestion.

    That we are as “shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” in this debate – or else we may find we also – unintentionally – take all the division and dissent of current church-think with us as well. Thank you.

  8. paulfg says:

    Reblogged this on Church Set Free and commented:
    “OK, as we continue our discussion, someone says, “Maybe we should agree what Sunday worship looks like. For example, do we need music? How about Communion? Will there be a sermon or homily? Do we need prayer books? Will our worship be formal and traditional; that might be tough to pull off in that environment since we can’t have anything with an open flame (candles).”

    OK colonists, this time you get to go first… What does corporate worship need to look like? Maybe we should take something with us after all…?”

    Church Set Free, or Church As We Know It …

    If you havent’t joined the conversation yet – why not head over to Don’s place and add your own thoughts?

    Thanks –


    (comments closed here)

  9. Matt Brumage says:

    No bulletin? No announcements? The next thing we’ll drop will probably be the pulpit…sorry, irony runs strong in my family.

    Don points out a good point about the “structure” seems more like a group of first-time or short-time believers. It doesn’t sound sustainable. At some point we’ll have sung all the songs, read all our favorite verses, and run out of “material”.

    The Old Testament (I still don’t like calling it that) was divided up into “readings” by the Rabbis, and then, somewhere along the way, the same was done with the New Testament. So, we already have a “reading plan” for Scripture, both Hebrew and Christian, we just need to use it (for those not from a liturgical background, it’s called a “Book of Common Prayer”). I think our Modern Theologian alluded to it. In any case, they’re readings, and a homily is merely a further explanation, and the “discussion” following is a fantastic idea. No formal ordained person is necessary, but someone needs to be designated for the “next” reading, if it’s not going to be the same person every week (which is also fine, in my opinion).

    Music in worship has always been a point of debate, and one of the most dynamic elements of worship. Everyone seems to have an opinion about the type of music, which songs they prefer, how fast, how slow, how loud, how soft, it’s really amazing. I think that’s because music is so visceral to who we are as people, and I further believe that we were created that way intentionally. So, the same sort of eclectic responsibility for Scripture can be applied to the music. Someone different can bring their “favorite” songs for that week, instruments present or not as that person likes.

    In churches I’ve attended for the last seven years, communion has been done every Sunday. I thought it would get old, but now, I’m really glad to have that as a part of the worship time. Perhaps, if the time of worship included a communal meal, the “communion” could be an element of that (Corinthian “love feasts”?), the ideas combined being the unity we share, and what Jesus endured for us to have it.

    Okay, that’s my two cents (maybe 75, I get wordy).

    • Don Merritt says:

      I think the word you’re looking for is “lectionary”. It has texts from both OT and NT every day.
      Where I preach we have a “pulpit” which is actually a fancy lectern, that is on a stage (riser) in the front. I’ve never actually climbed the steps, I speak from the floor and walk around… Too radical?

      Thanks Matt!

  10. Wally Fry says:

    Instruments are fine, just nothing electric LOL. Kidding. I love the music; done well it can really prepare the heart for the preaching of God’s Word.

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