Christian History Institute

Sharing our story of faith across the ages

items tagged with worship

Productions

DVDs

  • History of Christian Worship Series

    2012

    For followers of Jesus Christ, worship has spanned over two thousand years to include a long and diverse history of sacred practices. The many ways in which the faithful have preserved and celebrated God’s story is limited only by the human imagination.

    AWARDS

    • Part 1 won the 2011 WorldFest Houston Gold REMI award.

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Magazine Issues

Articles

26 Aug 2016

Canticle of the Creatures

by Francis of Assisi | Issue 119

Francis of Assisi

Most High, all-powerful, all-good Lord,
all praise is Yours, all glory,
all honor and all blessings.

To you alone, Most High, 
do they belong, and no 
mortal lips are worthy to 
pronounce Your Name.

Praised be You, my Lord, 
with all Your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun, 
who is the day 
through whom You give us light. 
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor,
of You Most High, he bears the likeness.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon
and the stars; in the heavens you have made them
bright, precious and fair.

...

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26 Aug 2016

Cosmic worship, sanctified matter, transfigured vision

by Kathleen A. Mulhern | Issue 119

John of Damascus“GRACE IS EVERYWHERE.”

So testified the dying priest in Georges Bernanos’s The Diary of a Country Priest (1936), a gritty, tragic tale of an ordinary man’s journey to God. Though deprived of the church’s final sacrament, the priest had no concerns, for he found it all around him in the “light and dazzling beauty” of common roads and kicked-up dust. 

Freed slave Sojourner Truth (c. 1797–1883) also saw something extraordinary in the ordinary, writing, “’Twas God all around me. … An’ then the whole world grew bright, an’ the trees they waved...

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26 Aug 2016

A cathedral, a retreat, a challenge

by Russell E. Richey | Issue 119

All glory to God in the sky ,
And peace upon earth be restored!
O Jesus, exalted on high,
Appear our omnipotent Lord!
Who, meanly in Bethlehem born ,
Didst stoop to redeem a lost race ,
Once more to thy creatures return,
And reign in thy kingdom of grace.

When thou in our flesh didst appear,
All nature acknowledged thy birth ;
Arose the acceptable year ,
And heaven was opened on earth :
Receiving its Lord from above,
The world was united to bless
The giver of concord and love,
The Prince and the author of peace .

O wouldst thou again be made...

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15 May 2012

Worship in the newly legalized church

by Jennifer Woodruff Tait | Resource Guide

IT WAS the late fourth century, and a nun was riding along the dusty, dangerous road—almost 2,500 miles of it—from Galicia in northwest Spain to the far-off Holy land. She was fulfilling a dream: to see for herself the places where her lord had lived, the roads he had walked, and the tomb where he was buried and rose again. Her name was Egeria.

She made it there, and home again, and in between spent three years journeying around the eastern Mediterranean, visiting all the major cities and holy sites. And most fortunately for us, Egeria kept...

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15 May 2012

Did worship still feature the Word?

by Jennifer Woodruff Tait | Resource Guide

IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, we hear many sermons preached for the conversion of unbelievers—Paul informing the Athenians that in God we “live and move and have our being” (acts 17:28) or telling his conversion story to Festus and Agrippa and arguing further “that Christ would suffer, and that He should be the first who would rise from the dead” even as Festus protested that he was insane (acts 26). But there is much less biblical evidence of what the earliest Christians said and read in their worship as gathered communities—although we do know...

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15 May 2012

Worship in the (supposed) “Dark Ages”

by Jennifer Woodruff Tait | Resource Guide

It is the eighth Century in Rome, and the pope is about to preside over the Eucharist.

He has ridden on horseback from the Lateran (his cathedral) to the church where he will celebrate. It is already packed full of worshipers who arrived in processionals from each of the seven regions of rome. Around the altar sit all the clergy and bishops of rome. The pope gets off his horse, enters the sacristy, and dresses in his vestments (see p. 37). Now the service can begin. An acolyte arrives, carrying the gospel book up to the altar; the basilica...

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15 May 2012

What did “sacrament” mean to medieval Christians? And how many were there?

by Jennifer Woodruff Tait | Resource Guide

A SACRAMENT is at the very least an outward sign of an inward grace, and “it is hard to imagine a sacramental life evolving from any religion other than Judaism,” writes liturgical scholar James White. The Jewish people, after all, knew that their God was transcendent yet also used material objects to communicate with his people: the burning bush, the pillar of fire, the emblematic actions of the prophets.

The early church, beginning on the pages of the new testament, gathered around a sacred meal and welcomed new Christians through baptism...

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15 May 2012

Worship at the eve of the Reformation

by Jennifer Woodruff Tait | Resource Guide

IT IS EARLY SPRING at the beginning of the fifteenth century. Along an english country lane, the people of the village are walking to church. It could be a Sunday, although Mass by no means is said only on sundays; there are frequent daily Masses, especially in large and wealthy churches with many priests. It could be the feast day of a saint. There is no end of celebrations to draw people to the church. The villagers greet each other, exchange small talk, wander on, and listen for the sound of the church bell. They are going to church to...

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15 May 2012

What did the worship space look like?

by Jennifer Woodruff Tait | Resource Guide

OF THE MANY CHANGES Constantine’s conversion brought to the church, perhaps none was more dramatic than the shift in the architecture of worship spaces. Before Constantine, few buildings were erected specifically for worship. The church historian Eusebius mentions that by the late third century there were “churches of spacious foundations in every city”—but many were destroyed by enemies of the growing Christian movement.

Intense persecution led to most Christians meeting in house churches. The best-preserved example, at Dura Europos on the...

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15 May 2012

History of Worship: Recommended resources

by The editors | Resource Guide

I. Overview histories and reference books

Oxford History of Christian Worship , ed. Geoffrey Wainwright and Karen Westerfield Tucker. Excellent one-volume scholarly overview of Christian worship across the centuries and around the globe. Articles written by Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Eastern Orthodox authors focus on theological, historical, and geographical topics.

The Complete Library of Christian Worship , ed. Robert Weber. Probably best described as an encyclopedia, these seven volumes feature discussions of worship from scriptural,...

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14 Feb 2002

Devoutly I Adore Thee

by Thomas Aquinas | Issue 73

Devoutly I Adore Thee 
O Godhead hid, devoutly I adore Thee, 
Who truly art within the forms before me; 
To Thee my heart I bow with bended knee, 
As failing quite in contemplating Thee.
Sight, touch, and taste in Thee are each deceived; 
The ear alone most safely is believed: 
I believe all the Son of God has spoken, 
Than Truth’s own word there is no truer token.
God only on the Cross lay hid from view; 
But here lies hid at once the Manhood too; 
And I, in both professing my belief, 
Make the same prayer as the repentant thief.
O thou Memorial of our...

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1 Sept 1998

The Place of Prayer

by John McRay | Issue 59

THOUGH FIRST-CENTURY PALESTINE was mostly illiterate, theological education remained a high priority for Jews. So the illiterate gathered with the literate and learned the Scriptures together in a place named for the Greek word for assembly —the synagogue. They heard the Scriptures read and sermons preached, and they discussed the meanings of the passages.

Synagogues provided a spectrum of services from hotel to courtroom, but these activities were secondary to the synagogue’s main function as a place of Scripture reading and worship. In...

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31 May 1997

A Taste of Glory

by Paul Meyendorff | Issue 54

I N 987, Prince Vladimir of Kiev is said to have sent emissaries to different countries to learn about the religion and worship of each. He was searching for an appropriate faith for his people.

The emissaries went first to the Volga Bulgars. These Muslims they reportedly found disgraceful, sorrowful, and having a “dreadful stench.” And among the Germans (Western Christians), the ambassadors reported they saw “no glory.” In Constantinople, they were taken to Hagia Sophia, the cathedral church of the capital. Their report:

"We knew not...

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31 May 1995

Sunday in Reformed Scotland

by the Editors | Issue 46

WORSHIP in post-1560 Scotland was radically simplified. About a half-hour before Sunday worship, a bell rang warning the town of the beginning of worship (why people needed to be warned will be seen in a minute).

With a second bell, the reader’s service began: the lay leader read the Scriptures and some prayers and led the congregation in singing metrical psalms—biblical psalms set to contemporary tunes. This part of the service lasted an hour and closed with the ringing of a third bell. The minister then entered the pulpit. A psalm was...

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28 Feb 1993

Repeating the Unrepeatable

by Aidan Kavanagh | Issue 37

AT THE LAST SUPPER, Jesus told the disciples to “keep on doing this as my commemoration.” But after Jesus had left them, early Christians recognized that the supper Jesus shared with his disciples had indeed been his last, and thus was unique. The conundrum was: how do we keep on doing an unrepeatable event?

For instance, if, as seems likely, the Last Supper was a Passover meal, or seder  (which means “order of service”), early Christians wondered if they should “do this” only once a year at Passover. Were they to obey his command literally...

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28 Feb 1993

Prayers of the Earliest Christians

by the Editors | Issue 37

JESUS, my feet are dirty. Come even as a slave to me, pour water into your bowl, come and wash my feet. In asking such a thing I know I am overbold, but I dread what was threatened when you said to me, “If I do not wash your feet I have no fellowship with you.” Wash my feet then, because I long for your companionship. 

—Origen (c. 185–254)  

Sovereign Lord, you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: “Why do the nations rage and the...

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28 Feb 1993

Following in the First Christians’ Footsteps

by Ralph P. Martin | Issue 37

MANY WORSHIP PRACTICES that meet us in the pages of the New Testament and early Christianity are tantalizingly obscure: Why were Christians being baptized for the dead? Why were women required to wear coverings on their heads? Why did believers wash one another’s feet?

What do we make today of these and other practices? Should we continue them?

Many are clearly mandated, or fully described and valued, in the New Testament. Yet we find many of them difficult to fit into our contemporary worship.

Sometimes our problem is lack of knowledge....

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28 Feb 1993

Where Did Christians Worship?

by Christopher Haas | Issue 37

The Roman prefect interrogated Justin Martyr and his associates: “What sort of life do you lead? What are your doctrines? You admit that you are a Christian?”

To each question, the Christian philosopher made a direct reply.

Then the prefect, Rusticus, demanded: “Where do you meet?”

“Wherever it is each one’s preference or opportunity,” said Justin. “In any case, do you suppose we can all meet in the same place?”

Rusticus pressed him, no doubt for information that might compromise others: “Tell me, where do you meet? In what place?”

Justin...

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28 Feb 1993

Inside Pagan Worship

by Michael Walsh | Issue 37

IT IS DIFFICULT for us today to visualize a thought-world which contained a heaven populated with dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of gods. Yet most people in the Roman world, apart from Jews and Christians, lived with the conviction there was a variety of gods, all requiring worship. All had their temples, their priesthoods, their followers. Each had a particular role to perform. Some people argued there could be only one god, but their influence was slight.

Three types of gods had their place in the Roman pantheon. There were the gods of...

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28 Feb 1993

Worship in the Early Church: Recommended Resources

by Robert E. Webber | Issue 37

TWENTIETH CENTURY liturgical scholarship has searched for the origins of Christian worship.

The most recent conclusions are set forth by Paul F. Bradshaw in The Search for the Origins of Christian Worship  (SPCK, 1992). Bradshaw challenges most current scholarship and argues that little can be known about early Christian worship. According to him, most documents describing early Christian worship are written later than assumed and have been reshaped by various layers of tradition.

However, the search for early Christian worship continues,...

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28 Feb 1993

Chanting in Honor of Christ

by the Editors | Issue 37

SINGING has always been a vital part of Christian worship. In about the year 112, Roman governor Pliny noted that Christians “met regularly before dawn on a fixed day to chant verses alternately among themselves in honor of Christ as if to a god.” Though it is sometimes difficult to distinguish early Christian poetry from hymns, here are three brief selections that were likely sung by early Christians.

There is only one physician, 
Of flesh, yet spiritual, 
Born yet unbegotten, God incarnate, 
Genuine life in the midst of death, 
Sprung from...

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28 Feb 1993

Worship in the Early Church: From the Editor — The Heartbeat of the Church

by Mark Galli | Issue 37

WORSHIP—no act is more central to the Christian life . It gives rhythm and structure to the Christian’s life; it is the heartbeat of congregational life. Worship is the first act of a new church, and in hard times, it’s the last “program” to be cut—and when cut, the congregation passes away.

Of course, Christian worship didn’t begin last year. We’ve been worshiping Christ for a couple of thousand years. Some of what we have done is impressive.

When I was a pastor, in fact, I got the tradition bug, especially when it came to worship. I revered...

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28 Feb 1993

Worship in the Early Church: Did You Know?

by John O. Gooch | Issue 37

THE FIRST PART of an early Christian worship assembly was open to all, including strangers, who might be converted by the preaching. The second part of the service involved the Lord’s Supper, which only the baptized were allowed to partake, so the unbaptized departed then.

By the early 200s, baptism often included renouncing Satan and all his works, making a statement of faith, being baptized (naked) in water, being clothed in a white robe, receiving anointing with oil, and immediately celebrating the Lord’s Supper.

Many Romans believed...

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1 May 1985

From the Archives: Worship in John Smyth's Church

by Hugh and Anne Bromehead | Issue 6

Worship in John Smyth’s church in Amsterdam, c.1611, was described in a letter by Hugh and Anne Bromehead, quoted in H. Wheeler Robinson,  Life and Faith of the Baptists , 1946, p. 96.

We begin with a prayer, after read some one of two chapters of the Bible; give the sense thereof and confer upon the same; that done, we lay aside our books and after a solemn prayer made by the first speaker he propoundeth some text out of the Scripture and prophesieth out of the same by the space of one hour or three quarters of an hour. After him standeth up a...

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28 Feb 1993

Early Glimpses

by David F. Wright | Issue 37

A Roman Official’s Report

AROUND A.D. 112, Pliny, the Roman governor of Bithynia (a province in northwest Turkey), wrote to the emperor Trajan in Rome. Pliny needed guidance on the persecution of Christians, and he reported what his investigations had disclosed.

[The Christians] maintained that the amount of their fault or error had been this, that it was their habit on a fixed day to assemble before daylight and recite by turns a form of words to Christ as a god; and that they bound themselves with an oath, not for any crime, but not to...

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Products

  • Christian History Magazine #119: The Wonder of Creation $5.00

    Christian History Magazine #119: The Wonder of Creation

    • Magazine
    • 2016
    • 43 Pages

    From the monks and mystics who found in nature divine inspiration for moving poetry and art to the hermits and activists who felt the call to live in harmony with the same, you’ll meet a variety of inspiring saints. So head outside to your favorite reading spot to enjoy this uniquely beautiful issue of Christian History magazine.

    Details
  • Christian History Magazine- Catch Up Bundle $50.00

    Christian History Magazine- Catch Up Bundle

    • Magazine
    • 2011-2016
    • Christian History Institute

    This special bundle includes printed copies of all 21 issues and our two guides. Topics covered include the Making of the KJV, Early African Christianity, Persecution in the Modern era, Heaven, Martin Luther, and much more.

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  • History of Christian Worship - Set of Six DVDs and Guide $29.99

    History of Christian Worship - Set of Six DVDs and Guide

    • DVD
    • 6 DVDs/ 1 Guide
    • 336 Minutes/ 5 hours 36 Minutes
    • All
    • 2010-2012
    • Ensign Media

    History of Christian Worship - Set of Six- includes - Part One: The Word Part Two: The Body Part Three: The Feast Part Four: The Music Part Five: The Expression Part Six: The Embrace 64-page History of Worship Guide

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  • The History of Christian Worship $2.50

    The History of Christian Worship

    • Other
    • 64 Pages
    • 2012
    • Christian History

    The History of Worship from Constantine to the Reformation takes readers on a one thousand year journey into the fascinating history of worship practices.

    Details
  • History of Christian Worship: Part 6, The Embrace $11.99

    History of Christian Worship: Part 6, The Embrace

    • DVD
    • 56 Minutes
    • Documentary
    • All
    • 2012
    • Ensign Media

    A History of Christian Worship: Ancient Ways, Future Paths is a six-part series that explores centuries of worship practices, as seen through the eyes of Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox churches. From scripture, sermons and creeds to baptism and the Eucharist, from art and music to drama and media, from prayer and contemplation to service and ministry, viewers will discover the significant people and events that have shaped history and learn how modern worship practices are rooted in the earliest foundations of the Christian faith.

    Details
  • History of Christian Worship: Part 5, The Expression $11.99

    History of Christian Worship: Part 5, The Expression

    • DVD
    • 56 Minutes
    • Documentary
    • All
    • 2012
    • Ensign Media

    The fifth in the History of Christian Worship series, The Expression explores how visual art, drama and media have been used in various times and places in Christian worship for the creative expression of the faith.

    Details
  • History of Christian Worship:  Part 4, The Music $11.99

    History of Christian Worship: Part 4, The Music

    • DVD
    • 56 Minutes
    • Documentary
    • All
    • 2011
    • Ensign Media

    The fourth in the History of Christian Worship series, The Music explores how liturgy and music have enriched the celebration of God’s story throughout centuries of Christianity

    Details
  • John Newton $11.99

    John Newton

    • DVD
    • 45 Minutes
    • Documentary
    • All
    • 2011
    • Gary Wilkinson

    This documentary explores Newton’s life from his turbulent youth to his involvement in the 18th century African slave trade, his dramatic conversion aboard a sinking ship and on through his remarkable ministry as an evangelistic preacher, hymn writer and abolitionist.

    Details
  • History of Christian Worship: Part 3, The Feast $11.99

    History of Christian Worship: Part 3, The Feast

    • DVD
    • 56 Minutes
    • Documentary
    • All
    • 2010
    • Ensign Media

    The third in the History of Christian Worship series. The Feast explores the significance of the Lord's Supper or Eucharist in worship.

    Details
  • History of Christian Worship: Part 2, The Body $11.99

    History of Christian Worship: Part 2, The Body

    • DVD
    • 56 Minutes
    • Documentary
    • All
    • 2010
    • Ensign Media

    This episode explores baptism and explains the history behind the various methods and traditions associated with the practice in Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox churches.

    Details
  • History of Christian Worship: Part 1, The Word $11.99

    History of Christian Worship: Part 1, The Word

    • DVD
    • 56 Minutes
    • Documentary
    • All
    • 2010
    • Ensign Media

    A History of Christian Worship: Ancient Ways, Future Paths is a six-part series that explores centuries of worship practices, as seen through the eyes of Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox churches. From scripture, sermons and creeds to baptism and the Eucharist, from art and music to drama and media, from prayer and contemplation to service and ministry, viewers will discover the significant people and events that have shaped history and learn how modern worship practices are rooted in the earliest foundations of the Christian faith.

    Details
  • Fanny Crosby Story $11.99

    Fanny Crosby Story

    • DVD
    • 45 Minutes
    • Docu-Drama
    • All
    • 2003
    • Panmedia Entertainment Corporation

    This is the amazing biography of the blind hymn writer, Fanny Crosby. As the writer of more than 10,000 hymns, all penned after the age of 40, she is credited with authoring more verse than any human in history.

    Details
  • Glory To God Alone: Life Of J.S. Bach $7.99

    Glory To God Alone: Life Of J.S. Bach

    • DVD
    • 43 Minutes
    • Documentary
    • All
    • 2002
    • Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

    In this video journey we are accompanied by Bach authorities including classical guitarist Christopher Parkening. They guide us through the development, personal crises, challenges, remarkable work output, and the compelling inner motivation of Bach and show why it was so important to the composer that his gifts be used for the glory of God alone.

    Details