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Evangelicals increasingly embrace liturgy

Yesterday I posted about the challenge to have God as the goal – not the means. This is exactly the sort of language that many who call themselves “Evangelical” find is moving them towards a liturgical style of worship.

Two clarifications: I do not like dividing people in to categories, “boxes” (evangelical, charismatic, liberal, radical,…) I generally find people more complex than such simplistic categories, and the danger is we so quickly caricature the category rather than relating to the individual. Secondly, in some sense every experience of Christian worship is “liturgy” – but, for this post, I cannot quickly think of another term to replace the communally agreed formulations of worship of Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Orthodox, Lutherans, etc.

Christianity Today, the magazine started in 1956 by Billy Graham, would describe itself as an Evangelical periodical. It claims a readership of over 300,000. It regularly has articles about the value and attractiveness of liturgical worship.

A Deeper Relevance (Why many evangelicals are attracted to that strange thing called liturgy) writes:

The liturgy, from beginning to end, is not about meeting our needs. The liturgy is about God. It’s not even about God-as-the-fulfiller-of-our-need-for-spiritual-meaning. It’s about God as he is himself: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is not about our blessedness but his. The liturgy immediately signals that our needs are not nearly as relevant as we imagine. There is something infinitely more worthy of our attention-something, someone, who lies outside the self.

Earlier this year, in a similar vein, “Why evangelicals are connecting with the early church as they move into the 21st century.” Both articles are worth closer reading – and discussion within your context and community.

I have posted earlier about the increasing enthusiasm for liturgical worship. We need a dialogue about the regular dynamics about our spiritual growth. What can encourage us to start the spiritual journey? And what can sustain our spiritual journey for the long haul? It appears to me that some traditions are very good at the former and some at the latter. The danger is that in some places young people are attracted – but not sustained into old age whilst others find they support the elderly – but cannot attract youth. And many people are not moving between these paradigms. What we need is a way to bridge them. To unite them in what we claim: Christian community is inclusive of all ages and stages. Liturgy, well done, it is my conviction – and clearly increasingly that of others – can resource this.

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