A Middle Way / Via Media
Here's two explanations of what we do at The Bridge
on Sundays and why we do it: a short version, for those
who want it, well, short, followed by a longer version, for
those who like details.
The Short Version
Like the Hebrews in the Old Testament and the Christians of the New Testament, we glorify God through structured worship known as liturgy. Our liturgy at the BRIDGE comes from the tradition of the Book of Common Prayer; the first edition of which was printed in England in 1549. Our Sunday liturgy has two primary elements: first, we focus on the Word of God in order to hear God speak to us; second, we celebrate Holy Communion, receiving the grace of God in order to fulfill his desires for our lives.
The Word of God: We read different passages of Holy Scripture in each service. More importantly, we believe the Bible is God's written revelation of Himself, finding its core in the birth, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. Sermons are grounded in Scripture, with an evangelical emphasis of seeking God's transforming power in His Word. We love the Bible, and we take it seriously.
Holy Communion: The high point of our worship each Lord's Day is to gather at His table and receive His Body and Blood at the Holy Communion. We believe that Jesus is present with us at Communion, and that Communion is a "means of grace," where the symbols of bread and wine are not symbols only, but are a way through which God gives us of Himself. All baptized Christians are welcome to receive communion at the BRIDGE.
The Longer Version
What did the early Christian Church actualy look like? How did they worship? How did they live in community with each other and the world? These are the quesitons the people of the BRIDGE Church asked. The answer to the question was the Via Media, a "middle way," between Roman Catholics and Protestants. One could say: "The Roman Catholics added too much and in response, some of the Reformers removed too much."
Serious study of church history brings one to the gem of the Via Media. For the most part, we worship in ways that reflect our ancient heritage, while acknowledging the primacy of the Bible in ways that are more Protestant.
The English Reformers removed only what had been added and returned the church to the purity of the teachings and practices of the first five centuries-- What had been believed everywhere, always, by all.
Our worship is rooted in the most ancient traditions of Christian worship. To worship by means of a prescribed liturgy is not dead formalism. It is participation in the living tradition of Christ's Church, handed down from generation to generation of those who have loved Jesus and sought to worship Him in spirit and in truth. Writings from as early as the second century show a striking similarity in the liturgy of the early Church and the liturgy celebrated at the BRIDGE and other churches. One visitor to the BRIDGE commented, "Liturgy with contemporary music-- interesting." We like to refer to it as Ancient - Future. Worshiping in the Ancient way handed to us by the Apostles while making it real to our era.
Like the early church, the high point of our worship every week is the Holy Communion (also called the Lord's Supper, Eucharist, or the Mass). Though many in the Protestant tradition have adopted occasional observance of Communion (at best), some of the great men in the history of Protestantism argued for frequent observance of that which Jesus said to do in remembrance of him. John Wesley, founder of the Methodist tradition (though himself an Anglican priest until his death), wrote a sermon called, The Duty of Constant Communion, in which he said, "it is the duty of every Christian to receive the Lord's Supper as often as he can." The great father of the Reformed tradition, John Calvin, asserted in hisShort Treatise on the Lord's Supper, "the practice of all well ordered churches should be to celebrate the Supper frequently, so far as the capacity of the people will admit."
We believe that Communion is a true sacrament, a means of grace. We believe in the real presence of Christ in the sacrament, that Jesus is actually present in the bread and the wine. Unlike the Roman Catholic tradition, we do not hold to Transubstantiation; Christ is present in the Eucharist, yet the exact manner in which he is with us is a mystery.