Great article up on RelevantMagazine.com from a guy who has attended Southern Baptist churches all his life and decided he needed to branch out and experience how some of his fellow brothers and sisters worshipped on Sundays. In six weeks time, he visited a different Southern Baptist church than his own (with a different style as well), United Methodist, Presbyterian (PCUSA), Roman Catholic, Episcopal and Assemblies of God.
Go read the whole thing as it’s a really neat experiment and he’s a witty writer. I just wanted to share this excerpt on his Episcopal visit. I could have almost written this for him verbatim:
Then we recite the Nicene Creed, followed by the “Confession of Sin.” Together, as a congregation, we recite a wonderful prayer, including this passage:
We have not loved You with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
When we finish, the priest says, “Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you of all your sins through our Lord Jesus Christ,” and it’s such a good reminder. I love this part.
For the Eucharist, we proceed a row at a time to the front. I hear the administrants’ voices: “The body of Christ, the bread of heaven. The blood of Christ, the cup of salvation.”
I can’t overemphasize the satisfaction I get from this service. It’s contemplative, reverent and serious. There’s no swaying or hand-clapping, but the congregation participates through prayers, confessions and responses. I hear more scripture read than in any Baptist service I’ve attended…
The liturgy is different, but the words are deeply meaningful. I get the sense that the focus of the service isn’t on the music, or the preaching, or even on making visitors feel comfortable. It’s on Jesus. It’s crazy how that seems so revolutionary.