June 17, 2009

Reviving Ancient (or not so Ancient) Liturgy

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:33 am by Editorial Team

I grew up in a denomination which lambasted the idea of tradition throughout christendom, while espousing its own short-lived 150-year tradition in disguise of scriptural authority.  Our liturgy was 3 songs and a prayer.  And on Easter, we had an Easter sermon, but nothing more through the rest of the year.

I have always been reticent to engage in liturgical worship, having long been instilled with the idea that authentic worship had to be spontaneous (by “spontaneous” I mean it wasn’t planned until the night before).  However, there is something deeply spiritual and worshipful in connecting to the prayers and hymns recited by Christians around the world and throughout history.  To attend an Easter vigil in candlelight and somber mood, and to suddenly have the lights come on and the “Great Noise” symbolize the risen Christ elicits a powerful emotion.

In our household, we have been using the daily devotional schedule in the Book of Common Prayer.  I had to overcome some initial uneasiness in trying something new, but I have found this liturgy useful — reading psalms every day, along with OT/NT passages, reciting canticles (songs lifted from poetic scripture), and prayers (Lord’s prayer, daily collects).  In these activities, I have found a consistency of scriptural devotion that I have never maintained before, and I have found my knowledge and connection with the spirit of God to be deeper in my daily life.

For many in our society, liturgy represents a traditional form of church that they are fleeing from.  For those in their 30’s and 40’s, this is often the case.  However, some studies suggest that the next generation (those in their 20’s), are reviving a desire for liturgical worship.  Regardless of preference, the church must seek out an authentic worship, one that is both spirit-led and develops a bond with the universal church, both past and present.  The worship of the church must both be authentic and grounded in present struggle.

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1 Comment

  1. DeLynda Gray said,

    I just finished “Cloister Walk” in which a Protestant joins the Benedictines as an oblate. It is a group of essays and has some slow spots but overall it was an interesting look at the comfort of liturgy.


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