Join Presbyterian Disaster Assistance in responding to Hurricane Michael and other storms: GIVE NOW

Presbyterian Center holds chapel service celebrating the 2018 Book of Common Worship

Book of Common Worship was last revised in 1993

By Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service

(From left to right) David Gambrell, Marissa Galvan-Valle, Lemuel Garcia and Kimberly Bracken Long  participate in a bilingual service celebrating the 2018 Book of Common Worship. Photo by Tammy Warren

LOUISVILLE – Worshipers gathered at the Presbyterian Center chapel Wednesday to celebrate a once-in-a-generation event — the revision of the PC(USA)’s Book of Common Worship. As they participated in a bilingual service from the 2018 edition, they were encouraged by 2018 BCW co-editor David Gambrell to worship “in whatever language speaks to your hearts.”

In his sermon on Mark 2:23–28, Gambrell reminded those gathered that the purpose of Christian worship is “to glorify God and enjoy God forever.”

“But what good is worship,” he asked, “when people are starving? How do we glorify and enjoy God?  When —

  • people are living in fear because of race?
  • children are separated from parents?
  • youth are not safe in their schools?
  • the wealthy exploit those who are poor?
  • nations dance around the brink of war?”

Gambrell pointed out that early church leaders, like Irenaeus, believed that “the glory of God is a human being fully alive.” Therefore, he said, “liturgy should support human dignity and worship should promote human flourishing. Then we will see the glory of God.”

In the gospel lesson Gambrell preached on, Jesus and his followers were criticized by the religious leaders for working on the sabbath, by plucking grain to feed themselves.

“Jesus reminded them of what David and his companions did when they were hungry — taking the bread of the Presence from the temple,” said Gambrell. “For us, it would be like taking bread from the Communion table to feed people who are homeless, outside the church.”

In his closing words, Gambrell spoke again about the Book of Common Worship — driving home the purpose of this bilingual worship service celebration.

“But if we think this day is really about this book, we miss the point. Pero si pensamos que lo que estamos celebrando hoy es este libro, no estamos entendiendo bien.

“Presbyterian worship was not made to serve this book. La adoración presbiteriana no está hecha para servir a este libro.

“This book was made to serve Presbyterian worship … Este libro fue hecho para servir a la adoración presbiteriana…

“and not just to serve Presbyterian worship, y no solamente para servir a la adoración presbiteriana,

“but to serve the church as it serves the world. sino también para servir a la Iglesia cuando esta hace su misión en el mundo.

“We hope that people will use this book … but more importantly, Esperamos que la gente utilice este libro… pero hay algo aún más importante

“we pray that God will use the people who use this book … ya que oramos para que Dios use a la gente que usa este libro…

“to bring healing in the world, to show love for our neighbors,  para brindar sanidad al mundo, para demostrar amor por el prójimo,

“to seek justice and reconciliation, to promote righteousness and peace, para buscar justicia y reconciliación, para promover la justicia y la paz,

“to proclaim good news to the poor and share bread with the hungry. para proclamar las buenas nuevas a la gente pobre y compartir el pan con la gente que tiene hambre.

“Then we will feel the joy of the Spirit. Entonces, en verdad, sentiremos el gozo del Espíritu.

“Then we will know the grace of Jesus Christ. Entonces, en verdad conoceremos la gracia de Jesucristo.

“Then we will see the glory of God. Entonces, en verdad veremos la gloria de Dios.

“Then all will know the sabbath rest and Sunday joy … Entonces, en verdad sentiremos el descanso del Sábado y el gozo dominical …
“that God provides in our crucified and risen Lord. Amen. que Dios provee en nuestro Señor crucificado y resucitado. Amén.”

Joining Gambrell in leading the service were other members of the BCW editorial team: co-editor Kimberly Bracken Long, former associate professor of Columbia Theological Seminary and now editor of Call to Worship: Liturgy, Music, Preaching and the Arts; Bill McConnell, former executive director of the Presbyterian Association of Musicians, now a mission engagement advisor for Presbyterian Mission; and David Maxwell, executive editor of Presbyterian Publishing Corporation (PPC).

The PPC’s Marissa Galván-Valle and Lemuel Garcia of Racial Ethnic & Women’s Minsitries also participated in the service.


Creative_Commons-BYNCNDYou may freely reuse and distribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes in any medium. Please include author attribution, photography credits, and a link to the original article. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeratives 4.0 International License.

  • Subscribe to the PC(USA) News

  • Interested in receiving either of the PC(USA) newsletters in your inbox?