A Contemporary Girl with a Liturgical Heart
When I started Bible College I thought I knew it all. I thought I had all my stuff together and was doing Christianity and Church right. People who didn’t worship the way I did or read their Bibles the way I did were obviously wrong. People who didn’t have a certain number of Bible verses memorized or didn’t know certain Bible stories were obviously not as intelligent as I was. I was prideful and didn’t even realize it. Getting a “C” in my Gospels class my Freshman year definitely was the kick in the pants I needed to realize that I had so much I could learn. My knowledge was extremely limited, I didn’t dig deep in Scripture, and the way I worshiped wasn’t necessarily the only way to go about it. One of my professors loved liturgy. He adored corporate prayer. He believed that worship was as group act. I didn’t understand it. Every class period this professor would lead our class in a prayer from that day’s Daily Office. I couldn’t wrap my mind around it and would not join in because I believed praying a group prayer was completely fake. I felt as though prayer was supposed to be a personal act – a conversation between God and me – and a group prayer wasn’t a part of that conversation. One Sunday, as I was singing along with the worship band, communing with the Lord alongside other worshipers, I realized that’s exactly what common prayers were. They weren’t fake prayers – they were prayers that were just like worship music. A person could take the words of the prayer and make them their own in the same was I was taking the words of the worship songs and making them my own. This revelation changed the way I viewed common prayer, liturgy, and other “high church” acts. I will probably never join a liturgical church but my heart connects so well with the beauty of liturgy. Photo Credit 1. It is Corporate – Liturgy brings the congregation together in a special way. When each individual knows what to expect from the service and can join together in prayers and readings or standing and kneeling then they are free to enter into worship in a special way. When an individual knows the schedule of a liturgical service there’s no ambiguity or confusion as to what’s going on. The congregation is joined together focusing on the Lord as one body. 2. It is Beautiful – The prayers, readings, and songs of a liturgical service are beautiful. Each aspect of the service is well thought out and intentional. The individuals who put together the services cared about how they came together and desired to encourage the congregation to enter into the beauty of the Lord. Prayers are eloquent, readings are intentional, and songs are beautiful. 3. It Teaches – Liturgy teaches the congregation about all aspects of the Lord. The liturgical calendar cycles through themes like creation, salvation, grace, the resurrection, the Holy Spirit… Each year the congregation goes through the different themes and is reminded about all the important theology of the Lord. 4. It is Deep – When the congregation is invited into prayers, the deep words involved in the prayers allow the individuals to look deep into their own lives and make the prayers applicable to themselves. The scripture readings apply to the prayers and the songs bring everything together. When individuals allow the service to reach into their lives it affects them in a deep, heartfelt way. 5. It is Not that Different – The services I attend are not a whole lot different than liturgical services at their heart level. People are invited in to worship the Lord by singing songs together, entering into prayer alongside the pastor, and listening to the Word of God proclaimed. If the Gospel and Grace are being proclaimed I don’t think the way it’s proclaimed matters all that much.