Our Liturgy, Part Two

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You can view Part One Here

Liturgy: Defined

Liturgy: “a rite or body of rites prescribed for public worship.” The word “Liturgy” is a very old word and originally it was a compound word. The two Greek words that come together that bring about Liturgy are leitos (λειτος) meaning “public” and the word ergon (ἐργον) meaning “work.” In the first century context, the word liturgy was often used to speak of military personnel, those in service of the king, or those who labored in the temple, hence “public work.[1] So, when these two words come together, it is a means of saying “we’re doing this; we’re working on and in this together.”

Our pastors take everything we do on Sundays seriously. The liturgy at Living Stones is no exception. It is not something that we do haphazardly, but rather with real thought and intentionality because we are seeking to honor God, serve the saints, and clearly share the gospel with those who do not yet know God as we gather on Sundays corporately. It is our conviction that without thoughtful, intentional, planning, our Sunday gatherings can simply play towards our Western tendencies to drift back into our individual selves. The Church is a community that acknowledges both God and one another, and seeks to live our lives in that reality in real space and time and not just in theory.

So our liturgy is a bringing together of the saints. One of our aims in our Sunday liturgy is to not only hear the gospel message proclaimed in song and sermon but to also dramatize the gospel message physically as a community. The elders at Living Stones Churches are striving to highlight the major storyline of the Bible and present Jesus as the centerpiece of all that we do from the time you enter the parking lot to the time you leave our gatherings.

Liturgy: Rhythms and Seasons

I’ll borrow an analogy from music since everyone listens to music. Life is like music in that it has high notes and low notes, majors and minors, rhythm and disjunction, vibrato and harmony, and of course, reprise (repetition). Consider Genesis. When God created the world, he created it in a rhythmic fashion. Reading closely, one can begin to sense the tone, hear the beat, and even feel tempo of the song of God’s glorious creation. The reader notices the repetition: “and there was evening and there was morning, the first day; and there was evening and there was morning, the second day; and there was evening and there was morning, the third day,” etc. (Gen. 1:4,8,13).

Though we clearly no longer live in the Garden of Eden, and we certainly inhabit a broken creation we have something like an internal metronome, a click-track within us. By the indwelling Holy Spirit, we have a rhythm of grace that that helps us keep in step both with God and his people as well as reminds us that this world is not our final home, and that heaven is. Our services, though rhythmical, and are packed with sounds of songs, prayers, silent confession, hearing of our sins being forgiven, sermons preached, speaking to one another, praising God and praying together and so forth.

Living Stones Liturgy and The Storyline of the Bible

Our services are arranged in such a way as to journey through the the major storyline of the Bible – Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration. Creation is in mind as we come together at the call to worship. The Fall is in view as we acknowledge our sins through confession. Redemption is applied as we both sing to God and over each other and hear the Word of God preached. Restoration is celebrated as we observe communion weekly and baptize new Christians monthly. Upon receiving the sacraments, we are reminded that God has saved his people, is currently sanctifying them, and is going to establish his Kingdom fully thus making all things new.

The next blog post will simply unpack our order of our services, and our liturgical practices on Sundays.  This will help you see a bit more of the “why” we do what we do and what each element in the service actually means.

[1] Robertson, A.T. Word Pictures in the New Testament. Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1933.