Learning liturgy

Liturgical prayerNew life group challenges students to engage liturgy

Liturgical prayers, a life group each Wednesday at 8 a.m. this semester, connects students to worship in a way different than most other spiritual formation opportunities.

“Liturgy is not a style of worship. It is a theological term. A lot of people, when they hear the word liturgy, think old worship and the piano versus contemporary worship. You can have a liturgical service that has contemporary instrumentation and music,” said Bryan Hollon, director for the center of Christian faith and culture and theology professor.

More specifically, Hollon said that liturgy means “work of the people.”

“Liturgy assumes that God is doing things in the world and that He’s calling us to join Him in that work. A liturgical service is any service where the people of God gather together and reenact what God has called them to do. Liturgy is a reenactment of the story of God,” said Hollon.

Liturgy operates on a revelation and response pattern. This pattern is hearing from God and responding to God. The content is often straight scripture.

Several students attended this life group during its first offering, including Joshua Boquist, senior pastoral ministries major.

“[Liturgy] has been helpful to me in the sense that I think, with all the different views of Christianity out there, that the truth can get muddied down a little bit because you have the idea that it’s objective or different people hold different truths,” said Boquist.

Also according to Boquist, hymns can be liturgical. Amazing grace taps into a tradition greater than ourselves and into biblical tradition.

“Establishing a community on campus that looks, not towards the future but to ancient times and acknowledges what has been believed and what has always been present in Christianity, roots [what] you believe in. We are rooted in the faith of Jesus Christ and what He has done in us and through us,” said Boquist. “I’d like to believe that there’s only one type of Christian, and that’s the person who puts Jesus Christ as their Lord and personal savior. That is what liturgy has been doing for me. Reading scripture, primarily through liturgy, is unintimidating, easy and satisfying.”

Furthermore, people engage in liturgy more than they might realize.

“We’re incorporating liturgical ideas and concepts, but in different ways [than expected],” said Tim Longbrake, assistant director of spiritual formation.

“Every church uses liturgy. They just don’t know it. It just means the order of worship we use, so even if the worship pastor is playing a contemporary service that has music and a message, maybe a prayer and scripture, that’s still a liturgy,” said Longbrake.

According to Longbrake, Christians need to have good liturgy. Usually, community worship uses the four fold traditional liturgical pattern. This pattern is gathering, confession, word and sending. Confession does not have to be of sins and can be proclaiming the truth of Christ. Sending can include response time but can also be just going out into the world. Song choice is also important and liturgical. The songs chosen convey the gospel, communicate truth of the trinity and invite worship.

Cathy Weyand is a staff writer for The Aviso

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