Perhaps my first memory of Christian worship is of the day when, at the age of three or four, in a Baptist Church in suburban Liverpool, I spent the whole of one particular service in the pew alongside my grandmother, rather than out in the creche as I usually did.
When it came to the congregation starting to recite together the Lord’s Prayer, my eyes opened, lit up, and I turned to my grandma and said excitably, 'I know this prayer! We say it every day at nursery school!'
Now besides my grandmother who was mortified by my loud interjection, and shusshed me up quickly, this must have amused the rest of the adults around me, as it amuses me (and a little bit embarrasses me) now, but it was a revelation at the time.
In that moment of recognition I learned something significant about Christian worship - that in different places at different times there was a common prayer which connected people as they said it; a prayer that had been passed on to us by others before us.
I was later to learn, of course, that the Lord’s Prayer went all the way back to first-century Palestine and formed part of the teaching of Jesus to his followers in what we now call The Sermon on the Mount. ...
We're starting a series taking a close look at Christian Worship, in all its forms, today. This is the start of my introductory talk.