Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. (Psa. 29:2)
Taste and see that the LORD is good. (Psalm 34:8)
O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! "For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?""Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?" For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory for ever. Amen. (Romans 11:33–36)
Once you have gotten even a glimpse of the goodness, beauty, splendor, love and mercy of God as revealed in Jesus Christ, you are moved to worship with thanksgiving, joy, wonder and praise. At St. Barnabas we gather on Sundays to do just that. We pray and sing together, hear the scriptures read and expounded together, and celebrate the Eucharist (Lord’s Supper) together. In worship, we open our hearts to God that we might be drawn deeper into the heart of God.
Worship at St. Barnabas has been described as “relaxed high church.” It is liturgical worship that follows the forms found in The Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church. Liturgical worship has come usually to mean worship that is structured and follows a set pattern as opposed to forms of worship that seem less structured and more spontaneous. Like an elaborate folk dance, our worship has a predictable pattern even as there is room for personal expression as we “dance” together in the mystery of God’s love and mercy. It is a style of worship we share with the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Churches, and the Lutheran Church.
While other styles of worship have their own validity, liturgical worship has its advantages:
- Praying prayers that we have inherited from the past links us with believers who have gone before us.
- Liturgical worship involves the whole person: kneeling, bowing, standing, making the sign of the cross, eating, drinking, smelling incense, singing, listening, and speaking together make worship a full-sensory activity.
- Doing it all together reinforces the conviction that we gather as one body instead of a group of individuals.
- This is the way most of the church has worshiped from the beginning.
Liturgy means the work of the people. The word is Greek, a compound of the word for people (laos) and the word for work (ergon). It was not originally associated with worship, but with any work undertaken or paid for by private citizens for the benefit of the people.
In the New Testament, Christ is referred to as performing a liturgy. “Christ has obtained a ministry [the Greek word is liturgy] which is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant it mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.” (Heb. 8:6) Christ’s life of obedience, death on the cross, and resurrection is the Christian liturgy. It is public work done for the benefit of the people.
Our service of worship is a “making present” and participation in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. In worship, we appropriate Christ’s liturgy as our own and are shaped by it. Therefore, we refer to Christian gatherings for worship as liturgies.
But the work of the people is not completed when we gather for worship. The daily living of Christ-shaped lives is also liturgy – “the liturgy after the liturgy.”
Interested in learning more about liturgical worship? Read more >