‘Doxa’ – The Glory of God


Doxa focuses on the Eucharist, because it is absolutely at the heart of Anglican worship and the ongoing sacrament of God’s grace.  Doxa focuses on what we do in worship – and what worship does to us!  It enables us to reflect on what it means to live Eucharistically – which means living open to God, and worshipping in such a way that the liturgy opens to us God’s transforming grace.  It is open-ended in approach, because wisdom emerges when Christians reflect together on their sacramental experience of the living God.  God refuses to be absent from those gathering in his name – so believing and belonging are linked. Actively belonging to church is part of how we flourish as disciples of Christ – we are constantly participating in God and being transformed to share God’s life forever.  And as we are, we make a difference to the world!

What is Doxa about?
* It is rooted in a way of listening for God often expressed in the phrase ‘lex credenda, lex orandi’ – loosely, ‘we pray what we believe, we believe what we pray.’ For Anglicans in particular this means:
* Attending to the interplay of scripture, tradition and reason as they weave together in the experience of public common worship
* Public prayer: prayer is never entirely private, even if it is sometimes solitary, but always a participation with others in the offering of life to God in Jesus Christ
* Liturgical listening.  Liturgy – from the Greek leitourgia, meaning ‘public service,’ or ‘ the work of the people’ is the way our praying is structured so that it is always anchored in the wisdom of the wider Christian community.
* Participation: Common worship reminds us that listening for God needs everyone’s participation and sharing of wisdom – otherwise our hearing will be inadequate.

What is the structure of Doxa?
There are 18 sessions in all, based on the structure of the Eucharist that is familiar in the Western (Roman Catholic and Anglican) Church – thus, the 3 first sessions are on ‘Gathering and Greeting,’ the next on ‘Penitence and Prayer,’ the next on ‘The Liturgy of the Word’ and so on.  Each session involves some reflection on our own experience, a short bible study and some resources for discussion and reflection. We’ll try to do it in blocks of 3 or six sessions with breaks and other stuff in between over the course of this year.

There is a book that goes with the course.  You don’t need to read it to get something out of the course, but it is very well worth a look and isn’t too expensive.  It is available online at Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/DOXA-Discipleship-Course-John-Thomson/dp/0232526605 for £9.15.

The Course Outline

A: Gathering and Greeting:
1. Worship as Community
2. Worship as Celebration
3. Worship as Service

B: Penitence and Prayer

1. Lamenting Life
2. Dealing with damage
3. A Praying People

C: The Liturgy of the Word

1. The Bible – our hearing aid
2. Bible Reading
3. Sharing the Word

D: The Liturgy of the Sacraments: Baptism
1. Coming near
2. Travelling together
3. ‘Yes, Minister!’

E: The Liturgy of the Sacraments: The Eucharist
1. Thanksgiving
2. Memory and Meals
3. Community and Creation

F: Sending Forth
1. Mission and the Holy Spirit
2. Mission and the Good News
3. Mission and Service

- Done in sets of 3 sessions.
- Some reading material is provided but it is of course optional.
- If you would like to buy the book – Doxa: A Discipleship Course (compiled by John B Thompson: Darton, Longman and Todd 2007 – ISBN -978 0 232 52660 8 on Amazon here http://www.amazon.co.uk/DOXA-Discipleship-Course-John-Thomson/dp/0232526605/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1412091304&sr=1-1&keywords=doxa - for £9.15).

Session 1Worship as Community

Welcome and Prayer

Starter: in pairs, tell one another something about yourself that might be surprising (but not too personal!!)  If everyone is comfortable, introduce your partner’s ‘surprise’ to the group.

The Gathering

The Lord be with you
and also with you.

Picture yourself in church on a Sunday.

What does the ‘gathering and greeting’ suggest about the God you worship and the church you worship with?

What does the greeting ‘the Lord be with you’ mean to you?  What does is say about being a disciple?

Think about the building (and the graveyard, if you’re thinking about St Mary’s)

What do they say about Christian worship and people’s lives and deaths?

Sharing the Word

2 Corinthians 5: 16-19

- How does this passage shed light on what we’ve been discussing?
- How does the passage invite you to regard your congregation and yourself?
- How does worshipping together shape your view of one another?


During the week, ponder what you have thought about this session.  Perhaps try to pray with a line from scripture.

Think about the significant moments in your own journey of life.  Has being part of the church contributed to the shape of that journey?

2 Corinthians 5:16-19 (NRSV)

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.

Session 2: Worship as Celebration

Welcome and Prayer

Feedback from the last session – has anything emerged for you about the last session?

Starter: think about a time of celebration in your life.  What were you celebrating?  What did you do?  What sticks in your memory most?

The Gathering: The Easter Acclamation
Alleluia.  Christ is risen.
He is risen indeed.  Alleluia.

Share with one another how your church worships.

- What happens, what is included, what does it do to and for you, who takes part…?
- What are the similarities and differences between this and the celebrations you have been part of with family, friends etc? You might also touch on similarities/differences between this and great public events such as a cup final match, a royal visit or a concert in the Echo Arena
- What are the effects of the Easter Acclamation in your lives as disciples of Christ?
- How could the worship of our churches and our life together speak more of celebration and glory?

Sharing the Word
Revelation 4
This passage follows the judgement of the seven churches of Asia Minor and is an invitation to get a heavenly perspective on worship.
- What do you think the writer is trying to tell us about what worship is like and how it affects us?
- What connection is there between this vision of worship and your experience of church worship?
- How could your church reflect more clearly the worship of heaven pictured here?

Share Spot: Worship and the Parish: how would you describe ‘parish worship?’


During the week, ponder what you have thought about this session.  Perhaps try to pray with a line from scripture.

Think about ways in which your own life celebrates the glory of God.  Perhaps pray for God to deepen in you the sense of his promised of glory.

Revelation 4

After this I looked, and there in heaven a door stood open! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, ‘Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.’ At once I was in the spirit, and there in heaven stood a throne, with one seated on the throne! And the one seated there looks like jasper and cornelian, and around the throne is a rainbow that looks like an emerald. Around the throne are twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones are twenty-four elders, dressed in white robes, with golden crowns on their heads. Coming from the throne are flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and in front of the throne burn seven flaming torches, which are the seven spirits of God; 6and in front of the throne there is something like a sea of glass, like crystal.

Around the throne, and on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with a face like a human face, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle. 8And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and inside. Day and night without ceasing they sing,

‘Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God the Almighty, who was and is and is to come.’
And whenever the living creatures give glory and honour and thanks to the one who is seated on the throne, who lives for ever and ever, 10the twenty-four elders fall before the one who is seated on the throne and worship the one who lives for ever and ever; they cast their crowns before the throne, singing,

‘You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.’

Session 3: Worship as Service

Welcome and Prayer

Feedback from the last session/starter – Share three ways in which your life celebrates the glory of God

Starter: Calling: think of a time in your life when you were called to do something – from military service, to jury service to the washing up! 
- What did it feel like?
- What was your response?
- How does the seeing life as a vocation (a calling from God) change things?

Liturgy: The Collect for Purity

Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord.  Amen.


- What does ‘being called to worship’ mean to you?
- How does this prayer shape your understanding of being called to worship?
- What might this mean for you local church, the church in wider society, for your own life?

Sharing the Word
1 Peter 2:9-10
This passage sets the early Christians’ struggles and suffering in the context of their calling to be a distinctive and holy people.
- What does this passage suggest about vocation (calling)?
- How does it relate to what you have already shared?
- How does it challenge what you have already shared?
- How has the church in this area lived up to its calling?

Reflection: What has this, and the previous two sessions, clarified about your own Christian journey?


During the week, look at the gifts you have been given the gifts present in your church, and the challenges you face as a Christian community in this place.  Given these gifts and challenges, what might you and the church in this place be called to?

1 Peter 2: 1-10
Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built* into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in scripture:
‘See, I am laying in Zion a stone,
   a cornerstone chosen and precious;
and whoever believes in him* will not be put to shame.’
To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe,
‘The stone that the builders rejected
   has become the very head of the corner’,
‘A stone that makes them stumble,
   and a rock that makes them fall.’
They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people,* in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.
Once you were not a people,
   but now you are God’s people;
once you had not received mercy,
   but now you have received mercy.

Session 4: Lamenting Life

Welcome and Prayer

Feedback from the last session/starter – Did you have any further thoughts about the calling of the church in this place?

Liturgy: Prayers of Penitence

Our Lord Jesus Christ said:
The first commandment is this:
'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your mind,
and with all your strength.'

The second is this: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.'
There is no other commandment greater than these.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
 Amen. Lord, have mercy.

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son Jesus Christ
to save us from our sins,
to be our advocate in heaven,
and to bring us to eternal life.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith,
firmly resolved to keep God's commandments
and to live in love and peace with all.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we have sinned against you and against our neighbour
in thought and word and deed,
through negligence, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault.
We are truly sorry and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, who died for us,
forgive us all that is past and grant that we may serve you
in newness of life
to the glory of your name.


- What experiences make us lament life or need forgiveness?
- How does confession relate to lamentation?
- How do you respond when someone has offended you? What did you feel if it has happened?
- If you managed to forgive them, what did that involve?

Sharing the Word

Genesis 3
- How does this ancient story shed light on the creation we are part of?
- If we didn’t have this story how else might we explain suffering?
- Do you think all pain and suffering is caused by sin?
- How might this passage shed light on the relationship between confession and a broken world?

- What role has repentance played in your own journey?
- What might you say to people who say, ‘I can’t believe in God in a world like this’?

Genesis 3
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God say, “You shall not eat from any tree in the garden”?’ The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, “You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.” ’ But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God,* knowing good and evil.’ So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.

They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ He said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.’ He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?’ The man said, ‘The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.’ Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this that you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent tricked me, and I ate.’ The Lord God said to the serpent,
‘Because you have done this,
   cursed are you among all animals
   and among all wild creatures;
upon your belly you shall go,
   and dust you shall eat
   all the days of your life.
 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
   and between your offspring and hers;
he will strike your head,
   and you will strike his heel.’
To the woman he said,
‘I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing;
   in pain you shall bring forth children,
yet your desire shall be for your husband,
   and he shall rule over you.’
And to the man* he said,
‘Because you have listened to the voice of your wife,
   and have eaten of the tree
about which I commanded you,
   “You shall not eat of it”,
cursed is the ground because of you;
   in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
   and you shall eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your face
   you shall eat bread
until you return to the ground,
   for out of it you were taken;
you are dust,
   and to dust you shall return.’

The man named his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all who live. And the Lord God made garments of skins for the man* and for his wife, and clothed them.

Then the Lord God said, ‘See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever’— therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken.  He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a sword flaming and turning to guard the way to the tree of life.

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