The Liturgical Christianity Portal

Bringing liturgical Christians together

New Resource Pages: Music Room

I’ve just started adding a series of pages focusing on music used in traditional liturgical services. Check out the additions I’ve added here:

Gloria in Excelsis/Glory to God Settings

There’s more to come, so please stay tuned ūüôā

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February 20, 2017 Posted by | Liturgy/Worship | Leave a comment

Yes, We All Need Some Quiet Sometimes

Jesus Praying Stained Windows in Bukit Doa Getsemane

A priest on EWTN recently emphasized how much the contemplatuve tradition is still needed, and I couldn’t agree more. There are so many demands on our time and attention at the best of times, and pop culture-influenced Christianity has often done its best to shut out the contemplative aspect.

A whole generation has grown up with megachurches that are so influential that, for many, their way of doing things is the authentic way and others are wrong. Liturgical churches are often run down as being “boring”, “like a funeral”, or not “relevant”.

However, all the glitz and showmanship found in many modern churches would have baffled Jesus’ early followers, and not just because of the technology. How often do we read about Jesus going to a quiet place to pray, as well as partcipating in public prayer?

Jesus’ followers understood the need for quiet and contemplation well enough that the monastic tradition took root within a few centuries. Even though most of us will live in the world and not in a cloistered community, the witness of these early monastics has a few things to teach us.

  1. We all need time away from the cares of the world, even if just for a few moments of each day
  2. Worship services need to make room for private, contemplative prayer
  3. Encouraging contemplative prayer, coupled with Bible reading, is a good way to let God’s Word speak to us

Have you taken your quiet time alone with God recently?

August 2, 2016 Posted by | Liturgy/Worship | | Leave a comment

A Community Evensong Outline

I hope you’re all enjoying the Fourth, and can recognize this as an opportunity to celebrate the religious we so often take for granted. As part of our religious freedom, let’s remember the fact that Christians throughout the ages have often been persecuted, even by other Christians, for how they worship.

I posted about the concept of a community evensong service on CelticAnglican’s Ramblings, and hope this will be a resource that many of you will use. We enjoy the freedom to worship as we please, especially in the company of fellow Christians of other denominations.

Here are a few tips:

  • Make sure your bulletin, if used, clearly denotes which parts of the service are said/sung by all and which are said or sung specifically by the choir/liturgical leaders with bolding or italics
  • Some attendees from non-liturgical traditions may not understand or be comfortable with the congregation reading in unison or responsively, phrasing should indicate they may or are welcome to take part in the bold or italicized readings
  • If the congregation will sing the Psalm(s) in unison, consider using a plainsong chant setting or a hymn that is a metrical version of the psalm

A prelude featuring church musicians may be used

The Service of Light on p. 109 to 112 of the Book of Common Prayer can be a good way to start this service if you have candles to hand out to attendees

Sentences of Scripture appropriate to evening worship or the Church season

A versicle and response, such as that on p.117 of the Book of Common Prayer

O Gracious Light or an appropriate evening hymn (Examples: The Day Thou Gavest, Abide with Me, Day is Done, For the Beauty of the Earth, Lord of All Hopefulness are just some examples)

Psalm or Psalms

First Scripture reading

The Magnificat/Song of Mary

Second Scripture reading

Nunc Dimittis/Song of Simeon

Homily

Apostles’ Creed

Lord’s Prayer with Versicle & Response p. 121 Book of Common Prayer

Suffrages p. 121 Book of Common Prayer

Collect of the Day & Other Appropriate Collects

Hymn or anthem

General intercessions & prayers for mission

General Thanksgiving and/or Prayer of St. John Chrysostom

Closing Versaicle & Response, with optional closing Scripture verses

July 4, 2016 Posted by | Liturgy/Worship, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Ministry: It’s More Than Being in a Pulpit

With today being an Ember Day in the Episcopal Church, I thought it might be good to do some reflection on ministry and what it entails. It’s more than doing homilies and sermons for those who are ordained, and it’s also about more than ordination for those of us in the laity. Modern society, possibly influenced by the media, often misses this.

In the neck of the woods that I live in, but don’t hail from, it’s not uncommon to hear people using the term “preacher” to refer to all members of the clergy. It’s true that clergy do obviously preach, but preacher is just one of many important functions that legitimate pastors perform. I think that it does clergy a bit of a disservice to downplay the pastoral role that probably makes up the majority of their day-to-day lives. Just some of the things that clergy do include:

  • Serving as the celebrant or officiant at services
  • Preparing candidates and their sponsors prior to baptism
  • Confirmation and similar rites (in TEC, this is done only by bishops)
  • Teaching
  • Pastoral visits to the sick

One thing that we can forget all too easily is that the laity also have ministries that make up an important part of what the Church does. While not all of these will ultimately lead to ordination, they can help provide baptized Christians with a way to find out whether they may have a legitimate call to the ordained ministry. Regardless of the circumstances, those of us who are laity in ministry and those who are ordained should treat each other as partners.

September 19, 2015 Posted by | Liturgy/Worship | Leave a comment

Happy Birthday to the BCP!

Holy Eucharist Rite 2

The Book of Common Prayer, one of the first accessible service books in the English language, and is still relevant today. Here’s an article that highlights is important place in Christian liturgy for all denominational perspectives:

The Book of Common Prayer Is Still a Big Deal

May 27, 2015 Posted by | Liturgy/Worship | , | Leave a comment

Taking the Devil to Task (The Baptismal Covenant)

Question: Do you renounce Satan and all the spiritual forces of wickedness that rebel against God?
Answer: I renounce them.

Talking about the devil today might seem quaint or silly to some. Many of the things that go on in this world have explanations that don’t involve anything supernatural. It doesn’t help that some people literally blame demonic activity on everything that goes wrong, ¬†or see the devil as some creature that has a power nearly equivalent to God.

There is real evil in the world that’s impossible to ignore. Even most people without religious convictions have a definition of evil. Regardless of whether evils like hatred, greed, exploitation and violence are the result of the direct influence of the devil or human malice, the effects of evil distort our relationships with God and each other.

When we renounce the devil and his forces of wickedness, we’re taking a stand against these evils. In effect, we’re saying that we’ve joined God’s team. While we won’t be completely free from evil this side of the grave, we can start on that journey that brings us through the trials of life and leads to everlasting peace and joy.

October 22, 2014 Posted by | Baptismal Covenant Series | , | Leave a comment

I Believe… (The Baptismal Covenant)

Celebrant      Do you believe in God the Father?
People           I believe in God, the Father almighty,
                      creator of heaven and earth.
Celebrant      Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God?
People           I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
                     He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
                     and born of the Virgin Mary.
                     He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
                     was crucified, died, and was buried.
                     He descended to the dead.
                     On the third day he rose again.
                     He ascended into heaven,
                     and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
                     He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
Celebrant     Do you believe in God the Holy Spirit?
People          I believe in the Holy Spirit,
                    the holy catholic Church,
                    the communion of saints,
                    the forgiveness of sins,
                    the resurrection of the body,
                    and the life everlasting.

The first part of the Baptismal Covenant is an affirmation of Christian belief. Its basis is in the Apostles’ Creed, which was formulated in early Christian times as an affirmation of faith. While it isn’t believed to have been written¬†by any of the apostles, the beliefs summarized in it are consistent with known beliefs from early in the Christian¬†era.

The fact that this creed starts off with “I believe” emphasizes its use as a personal affirmation. When the words are spoken, they show the importance of these beliefs in our lives.

October 2, 2014 Posted by | Baptismal Covenant Series | | Leave a comment

A Covenant Community

No, I’m not talking about a deed-restricted neighborhood here. ūüôā Over the next several weeks, I will be running a series on this blog about baptismal covenants, with an emphasis on the version used by The Episcopal Church. I hope this will not only be instructive, but will also give all of us some food for thought about how we live out our witness to Christ.

In TEC and other liturgical churches, infants and young children may be baptized. They have the opportunity to affirm the words of the baptismal covenant when they reach an age where they can choose to follow Christ and undergo confirmation.

Regardless of whether one is baptized at an age where they can make an affirmation of faith or whether that affirmation comes later, the covenant is the same. It includes not only an affirmation of the earliest Christian beliefs, but helps motivate us to live more Christlike lives.

Please share more about what type of covenant members of your church make in baptism.

September 25, 2014 Posted by | Baptismal Covenant Series | Leave a comment

It’s All About a Change of Heart

A cross in a heart, made from candles

A cross in a heart, made from candles

Parts of the passage that make up Acts 2:14-41 are among some of the most twisted passages in Scripture. This helps show why the scriptures need to be read in their complete context. Proof texting is not only bad for Christians intellectually, but can also be used to promote oppressive religious beliefs. Examples:

  • Peter’s speech addressed to the Jewish¬†people gathered in Jerusalem is often treated as a collective indictment against the entire Jewish people
  • The direction to repent and be baptized is often interpreted to mean that it must be done with the words “In Jesus Name” for the baptized to have any hope of salvation

The thing that’s easy to overlook is that it’s all about a change of heart, a message that many of the hearers no doubt needed to know about. Though the Bible doesn’t say this, it’s possible that many of those listening to Peter’s speech may have lauded Jesus as the Messiah on Palm Sunday, then called for his crucifixion on Good Friday. Far from an indictment against the Jewish people as a whole, it’s a call to repentance for those willing to receive Peter’s message.

Rather than establishing a salvational baptismal formula, the message seems to be about repentance – turn from your sins, be baptized as a profession of your faith, and receive the Holy Spirit because of your repentance and acceptance of the Gospel. Leave it to us humans to complicate something that God has made simple. ūüôā ¬†Keep this in mind – every adult baptism in a liturgical church requires the baptized to express repentance for their sins. Don’t make the mistake of getting it backwards, otherwise you might miss the whole point.

 

May 8, 2014 Posted by | Liturgy/Worship | , , | Leave a comment

History of A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols

Read more here

If you’ve never been to one of these services,¬†I recommended that you do so if you get the opportunity this Advent or Christmas season.

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December 16, 2013 Posted by | Liturgy/Worship | , , , | Leave a comment