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True2Ourselves Forums   > Community Topics > Theology  > Liturgy

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Old 05-07-2011, 03:50 PM
doinghiswill's Avatar
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Default Liturgy

I thought I had a clear understanding of certain words use in the Christian church. Lately though I've found that misinterpeting a great many conversation on this site.So this post is just to make things clear when we read certian words.
Being a worship(song) leader in my church I'll start with the word liturgy first.
My study of this word and it's effects on the church at large has had an awesome effect on what i do and don't do in sunday service.

Definition

Liturgy (leitourgia) is a Greek composite word meaning originally a public duty, a service to the state undertaken by a citizen. Its elements are leitos (from leos = laos, people) meaning public, and ergo (obsolete in the present stem, used in future erxo, etc.), to do. From this we have leitourgos, "a man who performs a public duty", "a public servant", often used as equivalent to the Roman lictor; then leitourgeo, "to do such a duty", leitourgema, its performance, and leitourgia, the public duty itself.

At Athens the leitourgia was the public service performed by the wealthier citizens at their own expense, such as the office of gymnasiarch, who superintended the gymnasium, that of choregus, who paid the singers of a chorus in the theatre, that of the hestiator, who gave a banquet to his tribe, of the trierarchus, who provided a warship for the state. The meaning of the word liturgy is then extended to cover any general service of a public kind. In the Septuagint it (and the verb leitourgeo) is used for the public service of the temple (e.g., Exodus 38:27; 39:12, etc.). Thence it comes to have a religious sense as the function of the priests, the ritual service of the temple (e.g., Joel 1:9, 2:17, etc.). In the New Testament this religious meaning has become definitely established. In Luke 1:23, Zachary goes home when "the days of his liturgy" (ai hemerai tes leitourgias autou) are over. In Hebrews 8:6, the high priest of the New Law "has obtained a better liturgy", that is a better kind of public religious service than that of the Temple.

So in Christian use liturgy meant the public official service of the Church, that corresponded to the official service of the Temple in the Old Law.

We must now distinguish two senses in which the word was and is still commonly used. These two senses often lead to confusion.

On the one hand, liturgy often means the whole complex of official services, all the rites, ceremonies, prayers, and sacraments of the Church, as opposed to private devotions. In this sense we speak of the arrangement of all these services in certain set forms (including the canonical hours, administration of sacraments, etc.), used officially by any local church, as the liturgy of such a church — the Liturgy of Antioch, the Roman Liturgy, and so on. So liturgy means rite; we speak indifferently of the Byzantine Rite or the Byzantine Liturgy. In the same sense we distinguish the official services from others by calling them liturgical; those services are liturgical which are contained in any of the official books (see LITURGICAL BOOKS) of a rite. In the Roman Church, for instance, Compline is a liturgical service, the Rosary is not.

The other sense of the word liturgy, now the common one in all Eastern Churches, restricts it to the chief official service only — the Sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist, which in our rite we call the Mass. This is now practically the only sense in which leitourgia is used in Greek, or in its derived forms (e.g., Arabic al-liturgiah) by any Eastern Christian. When a Greek speaks of the "Holy Liturgy" he means only the Eucharistic Service. For the sake of clearness it is perhaps better for us too to keep the word to this sense, at any rate in speaking of Eastern ecclesiastical matters; for instance, not to speak of the Byzantine canonical hours as liturgical services. Even in Western Rites the word "official" or "canonical" will do as well as "liturgical" in the general sense, so that we too may use Liturgy only for the Holy Eucharist.

It should be noted also that, whereas we may speak of our Mass quite correctly as the Liturgy, we should never use the word Mass for the Eucharistic Sacrifice in any Eastern rite. Mass (missa) is the name for that service in the Latin Rites only. It has never been used either in Latin or Greek for any Eastern rite. Their word, corresponding exactly to our Mass, is Liturgy. The Byzantine Liturgy is the service that corresponds to our Roman Mass; to call it the Byzantine (or, worse still, the Greek) Mass is as wrong as naming any other of their services after ours, as calling their Hesperinos Vespers, or their Orthros Lauds. When people go even as far as calling their books and vestments after ours, saying Missal when they mean Euchologion, alb when they mean sticharion, the confusion becomes hopeless.
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Old 05-07-2011, 08:52 PM
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Default Re: Liturgy

Good post. Like so many words in the 2,000 years of Christianity the real meaning is lost in some customs. It is common to hear the term Nun and Sister presented as the same when they are two different Religious. A Nun lives in a Cloister such as the Carmelites and a Sister is a Religious that lives in a convent but is able to leave for mission work on the outside.
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Old 05-07-2011, 09:29 PM
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Default Re: Liturgy

Good post Keith
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Old 05-07-2011, 10:58 PM
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Default Re: Liturgy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linsinbigler View Post
Good post Keith
I'm coming to understand even in my church which is AoG we are begining to use some( borrowed) liturgy in our services... With good results.
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Old 05-07-2011, 11:04 PM
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Default Re: Liturgy

Quote:
Originally Posted by doinghiswill View Post
I'm coming to understand even in my church which is AoG we are begining to use some( borrowed) liturgy in our services... With good results.
Be careful...you are talking Catholic!
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Old 05-08-2011, 01:48 PM
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Default Re: Liturgy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Loretohouse View Post
Be careful...you are talking Catholic!
More than that I'm talking means to truly bring the body of Christ together when we meet each sunday.
I really like the Lit. that repeats.....LOrd have mercy on us.....
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Old 05-08-2011, 02:59 PM
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Default Re: Liturgy

Yes. One time I was asked "why do the Orthodox pray 'Lord have mercy' so much"? I simply responded: "do we need God mercy that much less that we should reduce the amount that we pray for it"? In the Orthodox Liturgy, during the post consecration prayer it is made clear that "we offer this liturgy for the whole world..." When we pray "for the peace of the whole world, for the welfare of the holy churches of God and for the union of all" the response is: "Lord have mercy." Why? Because we acknowledge that everything we have that is good is by God's mercy. Truly, Lord have mercy. Christ is Risen!
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Old 05-14-2011, 10:54 AM
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Default Re: Liturgy

I saw this article in a Christian magazine felt it applied.......

Joining the Eternal Song
How liturgical prayer is saving our community from burnout.
by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

If the Baptists who raised me in rural North Carolina taught me anything, they taught me to love Jesus and the Bible. Hard-working farmers and factory employees, my people had high hopes for me. They stressed education and sent me with care packages to go out and see the world. But however far I might go, they made sure I knew that Jesus and the Bible were at the center of everything. Jesus was our Lord and Savior, the ultimate answer to life's biggest questions and my heart's deepest longings. In Sunday school, I learned that you find Jesus through the Bible. The Good Book was our constant companion. We memorized it chapter and verse.
As others showed me more than 2,000 verses about the poor, my people's passion for Scripture moved me to connect discipleship with justice. Jesus had clearly invited his followers into a new relationship with God: "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14:9). What's more, Jesus made clear that this new relationship entails personal transformation: "No one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again" (John 3:3). These realizations interrupted my assumptions about how I relate to other people. The more I paid attention to the Bible, the more it seemed my relationship with Jesus was inseparable from my relationship to those rejected and overlooked by society. "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat," Jesus said. "I was a stranger and you invited me in …. [W]hatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me" (Matt. 25:35, 40).
So I followed Jesus to Rutba House, a new monastic community in Durham, North Carolina. Communities like ours take root in cities, open our homes to the homeless, visit prisons, garden abandoned lots, and cook big pots of soup to share with neighbors—because we want to welcome Jesus. The Bible I was taught to treasure prepared me to find Jesus in a place like this. But when Jesus comes knocking around here, he brings friends crushed by poverty, racism, drugs, abuse, prostitution, and exploitation. We welcome them in, figuring God has brought us together, but we are never quite sure how to make it work.
This leads us to pray, because we need help. We've tried to fix our friends, just as we've tried to fix ourselves, but we've seen enough to know this is a dead-end street. Jesus saves, but he doesn't wave a magic wand and make everything all right. Before long, we realized our prayer resources were inadequate. We needed deeper wells to drink from. We found them in the ancient Christian practice of liturgical prayer.
Turning to Liturgy
A couple years after starting the Rutba House community, I received a letter from a Benedictine community in Minnesota. They were encouraged to hear about Christians like us living together and working for peace and justice. But they knew from over 1,500 years of experience that living in community can be difficult. They invited me up to their place, offering to pay my way. Someone had been listening to our prayers.
A brother at the monastery handed me a copy of The Rule of Saint Benedict, which has given order to many monastic communities since the sixth century. Not six sentences into the first page, I recognized the voice of a fellow Bible lover: "Let us arise then, at last, for the Scriptures stir us up …." What followed was a call to community that echoed at every turn the words I'd hidden in my heart. Here at the monastery, too, the Bible pointed to Jesus.
And to prayer. The Benedictines also had a set of common practices—a tradition of spiritual disciplines—that shaped and disciplined their love of God and Scripture. A bell rang from the church at the center of the monastery, and I followed men in black robes to midday prayer. "O God, come to my assistance," a solemn voice intoned. "O Lord, make haste to help me." I was caught up in the liturgy, its rhythms soothing my weary and anxious soul.
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Old 05-14-2011, 01:20 PM
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Default Re: Liturgy

^Thank you for sharing this. It certainly applies. Unfortunately, generational experience is not something that is valued by our modern culture. Modernism loves to fix things that aren't broken and reinvent the wheel over and over--make it more interesting, new, entertaining. We love to invent square wheels and octagonal wheels with 3 prong gangsta spikes. The only problem is the round wheel is the only one that is going to get us anywhere, even if it is a bit old fashioned and outdated.
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Old 05-14-2011, 02:56 PM
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Default Re: Liturgy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linsinbigler View Post
^Thank you for sharing this. It certainly applies. Unfortunately, generational experience is not something that is valued by our modern culture. Modernism loves to fix things that aren't broken and reinvent the wheel over and over--make it more interesting, new, entertaining. We love to invent square wheels and octagonal wheels with 3 prong gangsta spikes. The only problem is the round wheel is the only one that is going to get us anywhere, even if it is a bit old fashioned and outdated.
I'm in the same AoG church as doinghiswill. Our thinking is much the same on the whole of the body of Christ. I also have no trouble borrowing from other parts of the body to add richness to our 'love feasts.'
He's been printing and showing me a lot of the topic here and we've been sharing about how to apply what we've learned. Like doinghiswill ....If I were to change churches or if there was one close by I would like to spend a few weeks fellowship in in an Orthodox church. We've been sharing vids we've found on 'youtube' and looking at doctrinal statements and found that we both feel a real kinship with the ancient church.
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