Question Tuesday: Liturgy

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘liturgy’?

Have you ever been to liturgical services? What did you think? Did you learn something or experience something you weren’t expecting?

What was the weirdest thing?

What was the coolest?

(Read my post over at Thinking through Christianity about how I think all churches are on some level liturgical and what I like about formal liturgy.)

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2 Responses to Question Tuesday: Liturgy

  1. I have a mixed reaction of personal experience overcome by new perspective.

    When I was very young I did not understand liturgy, which is probably a common experience. Then my family went to a non-liturgical church and I still did not understand what was going on, also likely a common experience. I grew up in non-liturgical churches, where I grew in knowledge, understanding, and relationship with God.

    At this point in my life I look around at the various denominations and I now understand liturgy holds a richness of history, tested doctrine (hopefully), and connection through generations of the Body of Christ. Just think, thanks to liturgy we can pray the same prayers our brothers and sisters in Christ prayed hundreds of years ago. We are in a sense unified across time as one entity loving God with the same words and–hopefully–heart.

    The upside of liturgy: it teaches us what is (hopefully) tried and true across hundreds of years, bringing successive generations of believers into the Body of Christ in unity.

    The downside of liturgy: as with anything, it can be empty practices. It all depends on the heart of the individual. And there is the potential of flawed doctrine being handed down for generations, left uncorrected because, “that is how our ancestors believed.”

    The weirdest thing I experienced was when–visiting my grandparents’ church–I did not know what the communion wafer was; I thought it was a cardboard ticket for something later. “You mean I am supposed to eat this thing?” My church back home used bread torn into small pieces. Once I understood, I dipped the wafer into the wine and prayerfully took communion. I apparently rushed it and swallowed too soon, because it stuck to the back of my throat! Beware dry wafers! I endured the rest of the service in mostly quiet suffering and found a glass of water as soon as possible.

    The coolest thing I experienced was a reverential awe of quiet community honoring God together. Very moving. Well, I’ve experienced that in non-liturgical churches too. Truly there is a wide variety of expressions of worship in the Body of Christ.

    • reneamac says:

      Thanks for this great response, Jason. A connection to the “Invisible Church”, both throughout the world and throughout history, is another of the major elements of liturgical practice that enriches my life.

      “Beware dry wafers!” That made me laugh out loud. Great story.

      Thanks again for sharing.

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