Liturgy

Worshiping God

Liturgy is the primal art. From our worship of God, all drama, all music, all painting, all architecture has its origin. Art is giving back to the giver of all things.

Liturgy.
Theology.
Music.
Drama.
Spirituality.

liturgicalstudies.org is a place for exploring the meaning of these words. For me, they point to the same experience of communion with God who creates, interacts with, and transforms the universe through unconditional love and an offering of God’s own being to make relationship with the cosmos—and with us.

For many, these five terms stand in opposition to each other, but they all come together in the second of the list: theology. In the two or three centuries surrounding the 750th year from the foundation of the city of Rome, the 194th Olympiad, or twenty-one centuries after the birth of Abraham (that point of time where we change from BCE to AD in the west), the Greek word theologien was a technical term in drama, music, and poetry: it meant “the search for words with which to hymn the gods.” For early Christians, theology was thus the effort worthily to sing God’s praise in the context of worship and in the context of life.

Liturgy, worship, music, spiritual life, theology are all actions, not things. More importantly, all of these actions are both intrinsic and extrinsic. Worship must always be done for the sake of our relationship with God and in Fr. Alexander Schmemann’s wonderful phrase “for the sake of the world.” There is nothing more missional which Christians do than to gather in response to God’s call, to worship God (that is, after all, what the Greek word ekklesia, church, means). Equally, that worship is empty and meaningless if it is not breathed in and out in care for God’s world, and God’s children in that world. And without the humility of regular worship, care for the poor is little other than self-serving charity rather than agapē. liturgicalstudies.org is all about exploring the implications in our worshiping of careful conversation with the past and the present.