Each Christian churches today has their own “style” of worship. And most of the churches thinks that their “expression” of worship is the “only worship style” that is acceptable to God. They also think that other churches that is not the same as their worship style is a “dead type” of worship. This is my simple observation on each churches styles of worship because I experienced it myself. Coming from a Roman Catholic, then I went to a Baptist Church, then into an Evangelical Church and then a Pentecostal Church. I also visited a Catholic Charismatic Community, also a Charismatic Episcopal Church then the Metropolitan Community Church Philippines.
THE SACRAMENTAL/ LITURGICAL WORSHIP EXPRESSION
This style of worship gradually develop from the worship expression of the Jewish nation or the Israelites. We must remember that the first Christians were Jews. Jesus Christ is a Jew and so is his apostles and the first converts to Christianity. And so they adopted the worship expression from their Jewish culture and customs. They sang hymns. They celebrated different types of feasts. Central to their community was the Synagogue in which public worship was held. In the synagogue the word of God is being read, there the prayers are also read from prayer books. The Rabbis or Teacher has a special type of vestments. The men and women are separated in sitting inside, the men on the right side the women on the left side.
When Jesus Christ was here he presented a new meaning to all of the customs and traditions that they were all doing that time. Jesus was a Jew and he was obeying diligently as an obedient Jew. He was not disobeying the Jewish laws, customs and traditions he was giving it a new meaning, or should I say a new expression. For example when they were celebrating the feast of the passover. Jesus Christ gave a new meaning to it by saying that the cup is his blood and the bread is his body and whenever they drink from it and eat the bread they remember his death, resurrection and his second coming. And so when Christianity became popular and became big. The “center of worship” was the liturgy of the Holy Eucharist or the Holy Communion. The Central theme of Worship during the first centuries of Christiaity was “remembering Christ”.
And so from that time on as Christianity developed and grew so is the Church became institutionalized. The Roman Catholic emerged, the Greek Orthodox, the Eastern Churches all of them has the sacramental/ liturgical Style of worship but in a evolved or developed form. Worship for them is not to entertain people like we do it today. Worship for them is by REMEMBERING CHRIST, his death, his resurrection and his second coming that is central.
But there came a problem, worship became too much ceremonies, too much ritual, the simplicity of worship became non existent. The people became SPECTATORS just watching the priests do their thing. So it came to a point that it was too boring, too traditional, too formal and too elaborate. The simple celebration of remembering Christ became so formal that to other people it has lost is original meaning. We have a saying that TOO MUCH is not good and it was true. Because in the years that followed the Protestant movement emerged.
THE ELEMENTS OF SACRAMENTAL/ LITURGICAL WORSHIP
- The central is the Table of the Lord. In every liturgical churches you will see a big table at the center of the church.
- Special Vestments are worn by priests in celebrating the remembrance. Vestments originated in the Old Testament in which Levites wore special vestments when they are doing their services inside the Jewish Temple.
- Prayers are read. This custom derives from the Jewish Synagogue worship which Jesus and the Apostles was also doing as Jews. Impromptu prayers are also allowed and it is also practiced in the everyday lives of the Jewish people.
- Readings. The Books of the Jewish people or the Old Testament is being read aloud in the temple or synagogue. So it is in Liturgical Churches we have the first reading, second reading, psalm readings and the gospel reading. This is our version of the Jewish Synagogue worship.
- Singing of Hymns. This is the musical expression during the time of Jesus Christ and the apostles. Chants, prayers that are sung this are some of the music expressions of the Jewish people when they worship God and also when Christianity emerged. They were called “Sacred Music”.
ON THE NEXT WEBSITE UPDATE…
- The Biblical Sources and Basis for the Sacramental/ Liturgical Worship
- The Protestant Worship Expression