Vertical Habits: Relational Words for Worship

In 2006, the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship commissioned 23 congregations and schools to explore the theme of Vertical Habits, to learn how the words we use in our relationships also shape our worship.

 

When children are young, they learn words that build relationships. Some come easily: “Help!” “Why?” Parents and grandparents persistently teach them to say to others: “Thank you.” “I’m sorry.” We celebrate as these words become habits. When a child without prompting tells her brother, “I’m sorry,” we know that these words are beginning to shape her life and her relationships.

These same words shape our relationship with God. The psalms are filled with beautiful words that tell God “thank you” and “I’m sorry” or ask “why?” Looking at the order of worship in most churches, we discover a connection between these words and the actions in worship. They are—as Bruce Gritter and Karen Wilk, of The River Community in Edmonton, Alberta, first called them—our "Vertical Habits."

In 2006, the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship commissioned 23 congregations and schools to explore this theme, develop resources, and share those resources with other churches and schools. Since then, we have given several Worship Renewal Grants for projects exploring this theme. Learn more about Vertical Habits.

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