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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