The New Christians: Excerpt of the Week

from page 210:

The word liturgy comes from the Greek leitourgia, which literally translates to ‘‘work of the people.’’ This probably comes as a surprise to some readers who think it would be more accurate to say that the liturgy is the ‘‘work of the priest’’ while the congregation just sits passively and listens. But a sign of emergence at COTA [Church of the Apostles] is that the liturgy is truly the glue that binds the community. At the end of our conversation, I ask what concrete practices make COTA what it is. ‘‘The liturgy’’ is the first response. ‘‘It initiates individuals into community—brings one context into another.’’ There’s a rhythm in COTA’s liturgy, says someone else, that moves from communal singing into ‘‘open space’’ in which individuals get to ‘‘work out what’s between them and God.’’

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  • emergingmenno

    I’m so happy your book includes discussion of liturgy. It’s one of the things people notice when visiting worship service at my church – they come away saying, “I thought you were supposed to be all freaky-new and weird, but instead you’re rediscovering OLD rituals and practices!” Well, duh. Can’t wait to get a copy of your book.

  • Nick

    I am confused by the word “liturgy”. Does it mean any form of public, coorporate worship or does it refer specifically to rituals, such as the Lord’s Supper? Does it necessary have to do with traditional forms of worship or rituals, or can new forms be considered “liturgy”? Would singing songs to God be considered liturgy, as long as it is coorporate? What if the songs are new?

  • I believe liturgy can come in the skin of a prayer book that has been useful and cherished for hundreds of years. It could come in the skin of a visual arts group expression. It could come in the skin of the 150 Psalms. It could come in the skin of a new song. Any time your community is gathering around a shared experience of God/through God/to God,.. that is your liturgy. The key is, as Tony is illuminating here, that the people own it and all breathe into it.

  • Thanks for this post.
    I am convinced there is an emergent liturgical connection:



  • Hello! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back frequently!