Jesus was a faithful, Torah abiding Jew who regularly prayed, fasted, observed Sabbath and celebrated the feasts and customs of the Judaism of his day. While Jesus worked toward the reformation of many of the toxic elements that had crept into his strand of Judaism, he maintained a deep respect for, and submission to, the tradition of Judaism from which he emerged.
At Eastside Church we also seek to respect the depth of the Christian tradition, especially our United Methodist tribe from which we emerge. Therefore we observe and celebrate those ancient customs of our faith as long as we experience them to be authentic, soul-resurrecting avenues of worship. Those elements which we find to be either toxic, or simply unhelpful to our community are set aside. We believe this is in continuity with the practice of Jesus’ own worship that we find in the Gospel accounts.
WORSHIP AT EASTSIDE
Eastside Church takes seriously aesthetics, art, music, culture and creativity. Therefore, in all we do as we worship, grow and serve together, we seek to incorporate these values into how we practice resurrection. We author much of our own sacred music, bring the arts into worship, and seek to find creative new ways to help folks grow in their faith. Our desire is to be a community whose ethos is defined by our embrace of beauty, creativity, creation and sacredness in our expression of Christianity.
When imagining worship at Eastside Church think sacred, sacramental, passionate and meaningful. In regards to our liturgy (flow/structure of our service), we are historic in our approach but creative in our implementation. Each week we have scripture readings, corporate singing, a time to greet and fellowship with one another, a message/sermon, prayer, the celebration of Holy Communion, and sometimes a baptism or two.
As far as the music goes, in a given worship service there might be a guitar, cajon drum, mandolin, viola and a few other instruments playing ancient hymns of the Christian faith put to new music. At Eastside Church we also experience new expressions of worship composed by our community. Some have called our style contemporary, others emergent, and others modern. Regardless of categories, we hope that our music is an authentic and indigenous expression of worship that leads others into praise of God in this time and place.
Art is a big part of our worship service. In a given worship service there is an artist/artists who paint and draw in a variety of mediums such as acrylics, watercolor, charcoal, ink, etc. These pieces of art take another creative perspective on the themes, ideas, images, or commentaries informed by the sermon preached that Sunday. Just as the Holy Spirit engages us through all the liturgical elements, this live art work allows yet another way for congregants to engage, enabling them to reflect on the words being both said and sung.
THE LITURGICAL YEAR
Liturgical comes from the word “liturgy” and means “the work of the people”. Worship has historically been understood as a kind of “work” of the people that brings glory and honor to God. It is a time where we gather to bless God, and where we are blessed by God. At Eastside Church we seek to place our worshipping life within the larger context of the universal (catholic) Church. There are certain historic events the worldwide Church celebrates together in liturgical seasons. These seasons help the Church to remember Her story and to orient Herself within God’s larger narrative of redemption. Some of these seasons are Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost.
The Lectionary is a three-year cycle of carefully chosen Scripture readings for use by the Church in Her weekly worship. Similar to the liturgical year, the purpose of the Lectionary is to help the Church frame Her life and self-understanding within the context of Holy Scripture. While we do not always follow the lectionary readings at Eastside Church, we do intentionally spend seasons of our worshipping life in sync with them so that we can be in communion with the Universal Church and celebrate the Holy Seasons.