Thursday, May 22, 2008

Liturgy: Our Teacher and Helper

I am new to the liturgy thing, but I am drawn to it. There has been a buzz lately about the increasing number of people who find liturgy appealing. A variety of magazines have reported on the rise of liturgy, ranging from Christianity Today to US News and World Report. I am not sure whether or not their claim is true, but nonetheless, I find myself wondering, what are the benefits of liturgy? Two things come to mind:

First, the liturgy is our teacher. It teaches how we ought to respond to the Lord in worship. More specifically, it teaches us what we ought to say. When a Scripture passage is read, the congregation says, “Thanks be to God!” Thus, the liturgy teaches us how we ought to respond to the Word of God; namely, that our response ought to be thanksgiving. Perhaps the passage being read was a harsh passage about God’s wrath. We might want to respond by saying, “That is too harsh” or “This isn’t for me.” Instead, the liturgy teaches us to say, “Thanks be to God!”

Similarly, the liturgy is our helper. Sometimes our impromptu words don’t do justice to what we want to say. Sometimes there is more to pray than what we can think of on the spot. That is when the liturgy comes to our aid. It helps us by giving us words when we would otherwise be at a loss for words.

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