At the heart of so much discussion of the church, in particular missional church or seeker-sensitive church, is change and adaptation and relevant and listening to the audience and serving the sorts who need our service. One church that is absolutely and resolutely against the adaptation theme is the Eastern Orthodox Church, and it is “meet and right” for us to give EO a glance to remind us both where we were and what longterm tradition looks like.
What have you “picked up” from the Orthodox? What do you think we can learn?
Same words, same history, worldwide, week after week. Not monotonous but a sacred rhythm constructed by theologians and pastors and churches and designed to usher each worshiper each week into the mysteries of the gospel.
Instead of being shaped by the sermon, which is the Protestant contribution, the Divine Liturgy is shaped by a journey into eucharistic communion with God in the kingdom of God. Instead of “change,” the operative word is “same.”
I have on my desk a beautiful (Orthodox is all about beauty), passionate book by Father Vassilios Papavassiliou called Journey into the Kingdom: An Insider’s Look at the Liturgy and Beliefs of the Eastern Orthodox Church. There are twenty brief chapters on each of the elements of the Divine Liturgy (that is, the Sunday service). The book walks us through each, with plenty of photographs. The best introduction to Orthodoxy is not a book, even the fine ones written by Kallistos (Timothy) Ware, but attendance and participation in the Divine Liturgy itself.
1. Blessing and Litany of Peace
2. Great Litany
3. Mini Creed
4. Entrance of the Gospel [there is a lack of Old Testament readings today among the Orthodox].
5. Catechumens [one location for the homily/sermon].
6. The Cherubic Hymn and Entrance of the Holy Gifts
7. Psalm 50 
8. Preparing for Holy Communion
9. Litany of the Precious Gifts
10. Creed: Trinity, Christ, Spirit, Church, Baptism, Resurrection [a very brief catechism is given in the book on these topics]
11. The Holy Oblation
13. Lord’s Prayer
14. Holy Things for the Holy