Liturgical worship definition religion

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What Does Liturgy Mean?

When during the Reformation the Protestant church sprang from the roots of the ancient Catholic church, some branches of the new church, while embracing the beliefs and tenants of Protestantism, nonetheless saw in the ancient forms and structures of the Catholic worshiping life much that they believed worth preserving. They understood that the traditional, ritualized, formally structured way of worshiping would for many always resonate in a powerful, deeply inspiring way.

At most Protestant churches, the congregants mostly just sit there, watching and listening.

liturgical worship definition religion

During service at a liturgical churches, though, people get relatively busy. The main liturgical church denominations in America are Lutheran and Episcopal. Note the irony that the denomination named after Luther, who is of course given credit for spearheading the radical movement that resulted in churches first opposing and then breaking away from the Catholic church, employs worship practices closer to those of the Catholic church than do the Protestant churches of just about any other denomination.

Luther may have rejected Catholic substance, but he still loved Catholic style. What is a Liturgical Church? John Shore. Read More John Shore. Follow Crosswalk.The central focus of the liturgy of the early church was the Eucharistwhich was interpreted as a fellowship meal with the resurrected Christ.

Most expressions of Judaism at the time of Christ were dominated by an intense expectation, appropriated by the early Christian church, of the kingdom of Godwhich would be inaugurated by the Messiah—Son of Man. The Lord himself would serve the community of the kingdom at the messianic meal Luke ff. The basic mood in the community gathered about him is thus one of nuptial joy over the inauguration of the promised end-time.

The death of Jesus at first bewildered his community in the face of his promise, but the appearances of the risen Christ confirmed their expectations about the messianic kingdom.

These appearances influenced the expectations about the messianic meal and the continuation of fellowship with the Son of Man in the meal. Faith in the Resurrection and an expectation of the continuation of the fellowship meal with the exalted Son of Man are two basic elements of the Eucharist that have been a part of the liturgy from the beginnings of the church.

In meeting the risen Christ in the eucharistic meal the community sees all the glowing expectations of salvation confirmed. The Christian community experiences a continuation of the appearances of the Resurrected One in the eucharistic meal.

liturgical worship definition religion

In the liturgical creations of the 1st to the 6th century, diversity rather than uniformity was a commanding feature of the development of worship forms. This diversity is preserved in the Clementine liturgy Antiochthe Liturgy of St.

James of the church of Jerusalemthe liturgy of St. Mark in Egyptthe Roman mass, and others. In the 6th century two types of liturgies were fixed by canon law in the Eastern Orthodox Church : the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom originally the liturgy of Constantinople and the Liturgy of St.

Basil originally the liturgy of the Cappadocian monasteries. The Liturgy of St. Basil, however, is celebrated only 10 times during the year, whereas the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is celebrated most other times. In addition to these liturgies is the so-called Liturgy of the Preconsecrated Offeringsattributed to Pope Gregory the Great. In this liturgy no consecration of the eucharistic offering occurs—because the eucharistic offerings used have been consecrated on the previous Sunday—and it is celebrated on weekday mornings during Lent as well as from Monday to Wednesday during Holy Week.

The period of liturgical improvisation apparently was concluded earlier in the Latin West than in the East. The liturgy of the ancient Latin church is textually available only since the 6th century. Though the Gallic liturgies are essentially closer to the Eastern liturgies, the liturgy of Rome followed a special development. From the middle of the 4th century, the Roman mass was celebrated in Latin rather than in Greek, which had been the earlier practice.

The fixing of the Roman mass by canon law is congruent with the historical impulse of the Roman Catholic Church to follow the ancient Roman pattern of rendering sacred observance in legal forms and with stipulated regularities.Liturgy has conventionally been understood as the words that Jews recite in public worship. While written words are almost all that remains from earlier times, the study of liturgy today understands that the ways that these words are performed shapes their meanings profoundly.

To the extent possible, then, the study of liturgical words must be combined with the study of all elements of their settings: of the gestures, postures, and intonations musical or otherwise accompanying them; of the physical setting where they are recited, usually the synagogue, and its ornamentation; of ritual objects accompanying them; and of the matrix of halakhahcustom, and theology that shapes their composition and recitation.

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Thus, liturgy in the Jerusalem Temple was primarily nonverbal, but filled with the ritual actions of sacrifice. Liturgy in synagogues has always been dominated by words, but not exclusively so.

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Liturgy in two synagogues might include very similar texts but look and sound entirely different, or express two very different sorts of spirituality. In addition, the synagogue is not the only locus of rabbinic liturgy; a prayer quorum can gather anywhere. Moreover, the individual, with or without the quorum, remains obligated to pray. Rituals based in the home, around meals, or formulated over a cup of wine as in circumcision and marriage are also integral elements of Jewish liturgy.

While the Jerusalem Temples stood, formal public worship of God occurred there, through the sacrifices and their accompanying rituals. The Hebrew Bible records the short prayers of Moses Num. The only formal prayers in the Bible are the confessions to be recited when bringing the first fruits Viddui Bikkurim and the tithe Viddui Ma'aser ; Deut. Pious individuals may have prayed thrice daily Dan.

There is no evidence, however, for communal prayer in the Temple. The laymen present for the sacrifices participated in the ritual by prostrating themselves Tam.

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This ceremony might have been one of the sources out of which rabbinic liturgy later developed. The synagogue, the Greco-Roman association in its Judean form, the frequent fasts prescribed in times of drought for which a special liturgy was recorded in the Mishnah Ta'an.

The synagogue developed as a place for the regular ritual reading and exposition of Torah.

liturgical worship definition religion

Judean civic associations, perhaps known as havurotprovided a forum for communal meals, ritual, and study. The sectarian community at Qumran similarly gathered twice daily for formal prayers as well as communal meals. All these prayer gatherings correspond in timing to Temple sacrifices. Tannaitic texts record the basic outlines of rabbinic liturgy. See the individual entries on all these prayers for their descriptions and histories.

No rabbinic prayers were written down until much later. It is also unclear to what extent prayer texts were fixed or flexible within these accepted structures and how broadly rabbinic prayers were known among the Jews of the Land of Israel and even more so in the Diaspora.

It is only around the fourth century that synagogue architecture in Israel begins regularly to reflect the physical orientation of rabbinic worship, especially the Amidahtowards Jerusalem. There are ample indications that women attended the synagogue. However, there is no direct evidence for an architecturally separate women's section until the High Middle Ages.

At the very least, an accepted literary norm developed to the effect that the ideal language for prayer would be Hebrew although other languages were acceptable for many prayers; Sot. By the end of the talmudic period, general consensus existed as to the basic formulation of most prayers, though significant regional variations remained. Whether these variations arose as devolution from an original fixed composition or from gradual evolution towards this consensus is unclear.

No manuscripts of Hebrew prayers exist from this period, and the few Greek manuscripts suggest only a vague adherence to rabbinic norms Van der Horst, Langer, "Did…". The Talmud preserves a few discussions of disputed prayer texts, and these decisions became normative in later generations as the Talmud itself became normative. However, the lack of early talmudic manuscripts also calls the historicity of many of these texts into question.It could well be said that the years since have been, in America as well as in much of the rest of the religious world, a time of unprecedented liturgical change—indeed, upheaval.

One could probably go farther to suggest that for Christian churches at least, there has not been such a time since the Reformation of the sixteenth century in Europe and successive "aftershocks" in other places in the centuries that followed. The roots of this thirty-five year period of liturgical change can be found in two seemingly disparate movements. The more obvious is a series of scholarly and highly "traditional" efforts in many Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Protestant churches dating back almost exactly one hundred years before In England, Scotland, and Continental Europe, during the late nineteenth century, attempts began to return to earlier worship patterns.

There was a renewed interest by Protestants and Anglicans in practices advocated by such sixteenth-century Protestant reformers as John CalvinHuldrych Zwingli, and John Knox.

There was also a revived interest in seventeenth-century Puritans, eighteenth-century Methodists, and in elements of sixteenth and seventeenth-century English worship. In the Roman Catholic Churchthe impact of the sixteenth-century Counter-Reformation was challenged in the late nineteenth century with a revived interest in the high Middle Ages and later an appeal to the Patristic era.

Liturgy and Worship

In the twentieth century, supportive developments in biblical studies the so-called "Higher Criticism"ecumenism as in the World Student Christian Federation and the World Council of Churchesand neo-orthodoxy in the Reformed and Lutheran Churches combined to encourage this liturgical movement, which rapidly crossed the Atlantic to North America. The transatlantic move significantly changed certain of these traditions, particularly in the Roman Catholic Churchwhere there was added an urban, societal dimension very much under the influence of the Benedictine community's publication of a new journal, Orate Fratres, founded by Virgil Michael in and later to become Worship.

This is an important connection in relation to the second set of influences on liturgical renewal in America. This other set of influences may be described as social and cultural. Next there arose another paraliturgical form of social and ritual consciousness, the anti— Vietnam War thrust and the related "flower children" youth movement symbolized by Woodstock. This, too, developed its own cultic patterns.

What has come to characterize liturgical life worldwide in the Protestant, Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches in the several decades since may be even more pronounced in these churches in the United States. To a lesser extent one might also describe in the same way developments in Judaism, even though significant differences in cultural contexts would have to be addressed. For many, the word "liturgy" brings to mind elaborate rituals and complex, fixed ecclesiastical texts and traditions.

The Greek antecedents of the word, however, would seem to suggest a broader meaning. The two Greek stem words laos "people" and ergon "energy" combine to provide its usual translation, "the work of the people," or "that which the people do. Its initial deliverance, Sacrosanctam Concilium, was approved overwhelmingly by the council on November 23, movingly and perhaps significantly, the day after the assassination of President John F.

That document set off a virtual chain reaction of reformed liturgies, not only in the Roman Catholic Church but also throughout the Protestant world, since many of those churches recognized in its provisions much of their own earlier reformations from the sixteenth century forward. All aspects of liturgical action—textual, architectural, ritual, aesthetic, musical, and catechetical having to do with baptism —illustrate this astonishing, almost tectonic set of shifts.

How then can the shape of these liturgical changes be described? This idea is not yet shared by the Baptists, other free churches, or the socalled megachurches. As a result of the Catholic Church's Vatican Council II, the worldwide body of Catholic English-speaking churches rapidly shifted from Latin to a modern form of English prepared and proposed by a consultative body of bishops known as the International Commission on English in the Liturgy, founded ineffectively "leapfrogging" the classic Elizabethan English of many, if not most, Protestant churches.

The effect of this was to impel U. Protestant churches to revise their texts from that older English into more modern forms, which was done under the guidance of ecumenical bodies that have always included Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Protestant representatives, namely the Consultation on Common Texts founded in and more recently an international group, the English Language Liturgical Consultation founded in The Worshipbook of the Presbyterian churches was the first officially sponsored attempt to make such a linguistic shift, although George MacLeod's Iona Community had pioneered in this respect ever since its founding in This move immediately provided for a much more vocal and understandable level of participation by the laity.

This goal is nicely expressed in a phrase from the Roman Catholic Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy as "full, conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations" para. And behind this goal there lies an even deeper aspect of liturgical change in these late decades of the twentieth century, a sense that worship is basically a communal event rather than an occasion for individuals to meditate or simply express their personal, individual piety and receive personal support and encouragement.

Inevitably this shift in language and participation, as well as revisions of structure, required new musical forms, from folk to pop to hymns and chants.

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This became particularly evident due to the equally surprising ecumenical adaptation of the new Roman Catholic Order for Scripture Reading at Sunday Mass Ordo Lectionum Missae, anda three-year cycle. Throughout Protestant and Episcopal churches in the United States and now internationallyby virtue of the work and influence of the consultation just named, this impulse has resulted in a large corpus of hymnody to complement and encourage the ecumenical adaptation of the Roman Catholic system and now known as Revised Common Lectionary At the ritual and aesthetic levels it can only be briefly suggested that just as the Catholic side has simplified and declericalized its ceremonial aspects, so the Protestant side has taken on the use of symbols, symbolic gestures, and ceremonial behavior such as vestments, color, and movement.

Orthodox-Oriental churches have been more reluctant to move in any of the ways just described—perhaps for reasons of ethnic identity, overlapping jurisdictions not always being in close touch with each other, and a high degree of conservative consciousness regarding the divine liturgy Sunday. The lower level of participation in the above-mentioned ecumenical-liturgical movements can also be attributed to ancient disputes with Roman Catholicism and Orthodox nonacceptance of Protestant bodies.

However, in the s there was considerable effort to translate the liturgy into various forms of English, and especially to encourage the vocal and sacramental participation of the laity.Liturgical theology studies the meaning of Christian worship. Although it is a relatively recent approach, it is solidly anchored in the Christian tradition. Its present shape, fame, and impact would not be what they are and its major representatives would not be able to do what they are doing without the lasting influence of the Liturgical Movement and some inspiring figures that helped shape its theological profile.

Their ideas and writings were widely received beyond linguistic and denominational borders and continue to be influential in the early 21st century. Therefore, liturgical theology is not so much a subdiscipline corresponding with a specific object of research and requiring a set of specialized methods, but rather a way of theologizing pertaining to the entire scope and content of the Christian faith and religion.

Liturgical theologians interpret the liturgy as the normative horizon for any theoretical theological reflection and take the liturgy not as the only but definitely as the primary source for theology. Because liturgical theology is still a field in full development, it faces a lot of challenges for the future—both within the Church and in the academy—but at the same time entails a promising ecumenical potential.

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What is a Liturgical Church?

Oxford University Press.Liturgy is the customary public worship performed by a religious group. It forms a basis for establishing a relationship with a divine agency, as well as with other participants in the liturgy. Technically speaking, liturgy forms a subset of ritual. The word liturgysometimes equated in English as " service ", refers to a formal ritual, which may or may not be elaborate, enacted by those who understand themselves to be participating in an action with the divine.

In origin, it signified the often expensive offerings wealthy Greeks made in service to the people, and thus to the polis and the state. The leitourgia were assigned by the polis, the State and the Roman Empire, and became obligatory in the course of the 3rd century A. The performance of such supported the patron's standing among the elite and the popular at large. The holder of a Hellenic leitourgia was not taxed a specific sum, but was entrusted with a particular ritual, which could be performed with greater or lesser magnificence.

The chief sphere remained that of civic religion, embodied in the festivals: M. Finley notes "in Demosthenes ' day there were at least 97 liturgical appointments in Athens for the festivals, rising to in a quadrennial Panathenaic year. Eventually, under the Roman Empiresuch obligations, known as muneradevolved into a competitive and ruinously expensive burden that was avoided when possible.

These included a wide range of expenses having to do with civic infrastructure and amenities; and imperial obligations such as highway, bridge and aqueduct repair, supply of various raw materials, bread-baking for troops in transit, just to name a few.

Buddhist liturgy is a formalized service of veneration and worship performed within a Buddhist Sangha community in nearly every traditional denomination and sect in the Buddhist world. It is often done one or more times a day and can vary among the TheravadaMahayanaand Vajrayana sects. The liturgy mainly consists of chanting or reciting a sutra or passages from a sutrasa mantra especially in Vajrayanaand several gathas.

Depending on what practice the practitioner wishes to undertake, it can be done at a temple or at home. The liturgy is almost always performed in front of an object or objects of veneration and accompanied by offerings of light, incense, water, and food. Frequently in Christianitya distinction is made between "liturgical" and "non-liturgical" churches based on how elaborate or antiquated the worship; in this usage, churches whose services are unscripted or improvised are called "non-liturgical".

Others object to this distinction, arguing that this terminology obscures the universality of public worship as a religious phenomenon. In the ancient tradition, sacramental liturgy especially is the participation of the people in the work of God, which is primarily the saving work of Jesus Christ; in this liturgy, Christ continues the work of redemption.

The term "liturgy" in Greek literally means to "work for the people", but a better translation is "public service" or "public work", as made clear from the origin of the term as described above. The early Christians adopted the word to describe their principal act of worship, the Sunday service referred to by various terms, including Holy Eucharist, Holy Communion, Mass or Divine Liturgywhich they considered to be a sacrifice.

liturgical worship definition religion

This service, liturgy, or ministry from the Latin "ministerium" is a duty for Christians as a priestly people by their baptism into Christ and participation in His high priestly ministry. It is also God's ministry or service to the worshippers. It is a reciprocal service.

As such, many Christian churches designate one person who participates in the worship service as the liturgist. The liturgist may read announcements, scriptures, and calls to worship, while the minister preaches the sermon, offers prayers, and blesses sacraments. The liturgist may be either an ordained minister or a lay person. The entire congregation participates in and offers the liturgy to God.

Its importance for Muslims is indicated by its status as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Salat is preceded by ritual ablution and usually performed five times a day. Prayer is obligatory for all Muslims except those who are prepubescentmenstruatingor in puerperium stage after childbirth. Jewish liturgy is the prayer recitations that form part of the observance of Rabbinic Judaism.

These prayers, often with instructions and commentary, are found in the siddurthe traditional Jewish prayer book. In general, Jewish men are obligated to pray three times a day within specific time ranges zmanim.As each celestial worthy represented a different aspect of the Dao, so each ceremony of worship had a particular purpose, which….

Christians gather regularly for worship, particularly on Sundays and on the great annual festivals. In these assemblies, their faith is directed to God in praise and prayer; it is also exposed to God for strengthening, deepening, and enriching. The central focus of the liturgy of the early church was the Eucharist, which was interpreted as a fellowship meal with the resurrected Christ.

Most expressions of Judaism at the time of Christ were dominated by an intense expectation, appropriated by the early Christian…. The inherited liturgies included much of the Roman Catholic sacramental teaching and thus had to be purged. Conservative Reformers retained the shell of these formulas for worship, though they took great pains to bring these formulas into the tradition of evangelical teaching.

Worship is the centre of Anglican life. Anglicans view their tradition as a broad form of public prayer, and they attempt to encompass diverse Christian styles in a traditional context. Although Luther retained the basic structure of the mass and liturgy, he introduced significant changes in the worship service, primarily of a theological nature, in writings such as the German Mass of The emphasis in the traditional mass on the reiteration….

In the Reformation earlier liturgies were modified by using the vernacular, removing anything that implied the reenacting of sacrifice in the mass, providing for congregational confession, and emphasizing the preaching of the word.

The liturgical collection, for Sundays as well as other days, includes readings from the Bible, collects brief prayers including an invocation, petition, and conclusion in which the name of Jesus is called uponand a litany general prayer for the intentions of the universal church.

In the Christian churches one can observe the value placed by the Church of England on the formal English of the Authorized Version of the Bible and of The Book of Common Prayerdespite attempts at replacing these ritual forms of language by forms taken from modern spoken…. Cyprian introduced Byzantine liturgical reforms into the Russian Orthodox church: he replaced the old Russian format of prayer and chanting in the church, called the Rule of the Studion, with a new format, the Rule of Jerusalem, or of St.

He also introduced into Russia new versions…. Gradually, however, the liturgy became more and more fixed, and less freedom and innovation was permitted; that change, combined with the threat of false prophecy, eliminated those charismatic personalities. Among the heretical sects that advocated a….

Charlemagne and Louis the Pious attempted to impose a uniform liturgy, inspired by the one used at Rome. They also took measures to raise the standard of education of both clerics and the faithful. Originally translated from the Greek, the books suffered many corruptions through the centuries and contained numerous mistakes.

In addition, the different historical developments in Russia and in the Middle East had led to differences between the liturgical practices of the Russians and the…. The divine liturgy of Eastern Orthodox churches provides a dramatic portrayal of the view that God works for the salvation of humankind.

Incense, vestments, icons, music, and the processional and ritual movements of the liturgy are united into a reenactment of Christian deliverance from the powers of…. The first Christians were Jews, and they worshipped along with other Jews in the synagogue. The earliest Gentile converts also attended the synagogue. When Christians met outside the synagogue, they still used its liturgy, read its Bible, and preserved the…. The liturgy of the Word typically consists of three readings, the first from the Old Testament Hebrew Bible and the second and third from the New Testament.

Cultic worship—a formal system of veneration—is so universal in religion that some historians of religion actually define religion as cult. Cultic worship is social, which means more than a group worshipping the same deity in the same place at the same time. A cult…. It approved the translation of the liturgy into vernacular languages to permit greater participation in the worship service and to make the sacraments more intelligible to the vast majority of the laity.

The change, a sharp break with the…. In Christianity, colour symbolism is associated with the sacred year; in Buddhism with the picture of the universe, the regions of which are classified according to particular colours; and in the religion of the Maya of…. Liturgy Article. Liturgy religion. Share Share. Facebook Twitter. Learn about this topic in these articles: Assorted References Daoism.