I grew up in a Christian tradition that thought of worship primarily as what we do for God; prayers and praise, thanksgiving, etc. I still believe these are important parts of worship, but I don’t believe they are the primary activity in worship. In many circles it is customary to think that in worship the people offer something to God so that He will bless them. In this case the service is focused on the work of the people and their experiences.
In the Great Tradition of biblical Christianity, the focus has been on God and His gifts; what He brings when we gather. In many circles worship was, and sometimes still is, referred to as the Divine Service. When believers gather for worship it is God who is doing most of the work. He is serving us! What we bring/do is secondary and only in response to what He has and is doing.
Worship and liturgy, therefore, are Christ-centered because He is the message of the Bible and the Gift that God offers to sinners. What we do when we gather, liturgy, is then to be focused not on the work of the people, per se, but on their reception of the benefits of salvation that are ours in Christ Jesus.
In our Anglican tradition, we call this liturgy a liturgy of Word and Sacrament. We believe that through these means, during Christian worship, God gives the benefits of Christ’s salvation to believers. The center of this worship is the grace of God given through faith in Jesus Christ. These grace gifts are given through the Word of the Gospel faithfully preached and the Sacraments rightly administered. Our response of gratitude is given by the Holy Spirit and expressed in praise and thanksgiving and dutiful discipleship.
Though the moving parts of this ancient liturgy are foreign to many American worshipers, this liturgical form of worship has been part of the Great Tradition of biblical Christianity since the early church. On June 5, 12, and 19, at 9:00 during our Sunday School hour, we will host classes that offer an overview of the theology behind this ancient worship practice. Please feel free to join us. All Saints Anglican Church, 3 Jardinero Drive, Hot Springs Village, AR.