Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Liturgy

Recently I posted comments on my other blog (Catholic Seeker) re: an article of the Evangelical trend toward liturgy. This has been going on for quite some time. In fact, there are even new denominations springing up as a result of the desire to create an Evangelical church that does liturgy.

Last night I heard Scott Hahn on EWTN compare some elements from the book of Revelation to the liturgy. He noted that the book can be neatly divided into two sections. The first ends with the giving of a scroll (ch. 10). The second climaxes with an invitation to the marriage supper of the Lamb (ch. 19). This corresponds to the fundamental division of the liturgy in the service of the Word and the service of the Table.

All of this shows a great mystery in liturgy. It is deep. It is awesome. We find ourselves joining in the worship of heaven and surrounded by the heavenly host and the company of saints. Worship is more than an event, but a glimpse into eternity. For a moment the veil is removed and we see the Lord high and lifted up. We hear the saints and angels song. We join them in praise and adoration of our great God. With that we are strengthened and equipped to go back out into the world to work and serve until the coming of our Lord.

By contrast, consider another current trend in contemporary worship. It is called the seeker friendly service. References to heavy theological concepts are dumbed-down. Music is lively, but typically shallow. Prayer is almost non-existent. The focus is the sermon, which has largely degenerated into merely a "talk". It is no surprise that this leaves would be worshipers empty and unfulfilled. Thus the move to liturgy.

Christians of various denominations and traditions are hungering for the worship of heaven. They long to not only be nourished by the Word, but also by the Body and Blood of our Lord in the Eucharist. They want to be caught up into something so much bigger than themselves or even their particular group. They have the longing after eternity. Christians don't want to just sing about God or hear about Him. They want to encounter Him. This is actually what a seeker service should be geared to. For true seekers come to find Jesus; not see a show about Him.

I believe the current trend towards liturgy will continue to grow. I hope it will bear the fruit of greater unity amongst Christians. I feel confident it will result in the deepening of Christian discipleship and the result will be greater effect in the kingdom of heaven. In other words, the very seekers that the others are trying to reach will be caught by those who have understood that God will honor genuine worship with an outpouring of His Spirit, the result of which will be the claiming of the lost.

May we worship Him because He is worthy! May we obey Him because He is Lord! May we work for Him out of gratitude! And may we bear witness of Him that He is Love!


Blogger Joni said...

What a beautiful reminder of the true purpose of the liturgy. It is not just a form. It is a mirroring of heavenly worship. It is a time of being drawn into God's presence in a way that words cannot begin to describe.

I see the book of Revelation in a whole new way now!

12:04 PM  

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