What does it mean to say, “Worship does God’s story?” It is this: Worship proclaims, enacts, and sings God’s story. Worship is not a program. Nor is worship about me. Worship is narrative–God’s narrative of the world from its beginning to its end. How will the world know its own story unless we do that story in public worship?
I began this chapter with the story of my pastor friend who had no idea what I was talking about when I said that “worship does God’s story.” In a world where worship follows the culture and becomes like another TV program–presenting, entertaining, satisfying to religious consumerism–it is no wonder that even a pastor trained in seminary knows little to nothing about the meaning of worship.
The problem goes even deeper, however. It goes to the heart of the Good News. Worship–daily, weekly, yearly–is rooted in the gospel. And when worship fails to proclaim, sing, and enact at the Table the Good News that God not only saves sinners but also narrates the whole world, it is not only worship that becomes corrupted by the culture, it is also the gospel. Not only has worship lost its way, but the fullness of the gospel, the story which worship does, has been lost.
So this book is not only about recovering worship, it is also about recovering God’s Good News for the whole world. Once we have recovered God’s Good News, the great and incredible news that he is the one who by his own two hands–the incarnate Word and the Holy Spirit–has recovered the garden, then, knowing this cosmic content, we can enter into the fullness of worship again. Worship gathers to sing, tell, and enact God’s story of the world from its beginning to its end. Glory be to God who is Creator and Redeemer of all that is!
Robert Webber in Ancient-Future Worship: Proclaiming and Enacting God’s Narrative, pp.39-40.