Good liturgy keeps us focused on Jesus as our Center.
By Jep , Associate Pastor GCI Baguio, Philippines
Liturgy is derived from the Greek word – leitourgia, which means “work for the people.” Liturgy, in the context of Christian spirituality, refers to the services, ceremonies, and sacraments that the church institutes as we worship Jesus. Liturgy can be about how we conduct a worship service, or it can be about personal worship. A worship service liturgy might include a greeting, opening prayer, sharing, offering, baptism, communion (Eucharist), reading of the word, hymns and other music, and benediction. A personal liturgy might include time in the word, time in prayer, and time in worship.
Liturgy is indeed the work/participation of the people in response to the finished work of Jesus to the Father and by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Whenever the people of God offer different expressions of praise and worship to God, it is always in participation with Jesus’ worship as the great High Priest and mediator between God and humanity. It is interesting that the writer of the book of Hebrews, talks about the foreshowing of the Old Testament worship – tabernacle, priests, sacrifices, and temple requirements as to the fulfillment of Christ.
Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. (Hebrews 7:27 ESV)
As co-participants in Jesus’ finished work as the great high priest, we view liturgy as an ongoing formation and transformation to the reality of the gospel—who is Jesus. This occurs while we are conducting the liturgy for a regular Sunday worship service, going through the Christian worship calendar with its special celebrations, listening to the sermon that is in sync with the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL), or simply having our personal times of devotion and daily prayers.
One of the greatest blessings of good liturgy is that it always points to Jesus as the center. Thus, liturgy helps us recognize the Holy Spirit’s power in enabling us to recognize Jesus as the center of the center and encouraging us to respond to him in worship that is in spirit and in truth.
- How would you describe the liturgy of your congregation or fellowship group? Are there any changes you would like to see?
- How does your liturgy participate with Jesus in his worship? Is your liturgy focused on Jesus as the center of all your worship, praise, sacraments, and ceremonies?
- How can you integrate liturgy and be intentional in your personal times of worship?
In GCI, there are a number of articles and resources online that are provided to help us appreciate liturgy formation.