Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Church Liturgy

30 Now Joshua built an altar to the LORD God of Israel in Mount Ebal, 31 as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the Book of the Law of Moses: “an altar of whole stones over which no man has wielded an iron tool.g]">[g] And they offered on it burnt offerings to the LORD, and sacrificed peace offerings. 32 And there, in the presence of the children of Israel, he wrote on the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he had written. 33 Then all Israel, with their elders and officers and judges, stood on either side of the ark before the priests, the Levites, who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD, the stranger as well as he who was born among them. Half of them were in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel. 34 And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and the cursings, according to all that is written in the Book of the Law. 35 There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, with the women, the little ones, and the strangers who were living among them. (Joshua 8:30-35)

Once again, my current experience of the Anglican Church, which was not intended, but upon reflection appears to be the Lord's leading, has been the regularity of the weekly Liturgy. Each week the service predictably includes the Lord's Supper, public reading of the Word of God ( a portion from the Old Testament, the Psalms, the New Testament and the Gospels), an exposition of part of the assigned readings, responsive prayers, prayer for the nation, the church, those in need and special issues, statement of Faith from one of the church creeds, the greeting of peace, the blessing, all interspersed with singing of hymns and choruses. At the end of the service our family walks away feeling that we have been well fed spiritually with a wholesome meal. I am not an Anglican, and this is the first Anglican Church that I have regularly worhipped in. However, I praise God for his provision.

The passage above balances the sacraments and the reading of the Law of God. It is a good foundation to a well-balance Liturgy. We cannot go wrong if we begin where God's Word begins.

1 comment:

Steve from the Alice said...

Both my wife and I come from non-liturgical churches, and we attend a non-liturgical church now. I'm all for spontaneity, but sometimes the confusion and, quite frankly, lack of minimum professionalism in 'running the service' detracts from the worship. This applies to the singing, the taking up of the offering, distributing the communinon elements, announcements, etc. It all becomes a bit of 'Gee whiz--what's supposed to be happening now?' So spontaneity is by no means to be confused necessarily with the leading of the Spirit.

When we first came to Australia thirty years ago, we did a bit of church-shopping and attended an Anglican Church in Darwin for a couple of those months. It took a while to get used to navigating the Prayer Book, but I too eventually took comfort and solace and blessing from the general predictability of the service. The liturgy, when properly used, is almost a metaphor for the timelessness of God.

By the way, could you please increase the size of the circle picture?--I couldn't see what the writing is on it and therefore wonder what it signifies.