Christian worship

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Worship at a Byzantine Catholic altar At altar.JPG
Worship at a Byzantine Catholic altar
An altar is a stone or wooden table used for the celebration of the Eucharist in some Christian worship rites Altar.stmaryredcliffe.arp.jpg
An altar is a stone or wooden table used for the celebration of the Eucharist in some Christian worship rites

In Christianity, worship is the act of attributing reverent honour and homage to God. [1] In the New Testament, various words are used to refer to the term worship. One is proskuneo ("to worship") which means to bow down to God or kings. [2]

Contents

Throughout most of Christianity's history, corporate Christian worship has been liturgical, characterized by prayers and hymns, with texts rooted in, or closely related to, the Bible (Scripture), particularly the Psalter, and centered on the altar (or table) and the Eucharist; this form of sacramental and ceremonial worship is still practiced by the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran and Anglican churches, and Methodism to a lesser extent. In the Charismatic tradition worship is viewed as an act of adoration of God, with a more informal conception. Among certain Christian denominations, such as those of traditional Anabaptism, the observance of various ordinances rooted in Scripture occurs during Christian worship, such as feetwashing, anointing with oil, and the wearing of headcoverings by women.

The term liturgy is derived from the Greek leitourgia meaning "public service" and is formed by two words: "laos" (people) and "ergon" (work), literally "work of the people". Responsorial prayers are a series of petitions read or sung by a leader with responses made by the congregation. Set times for prayer during the day were established (based substantially on Jewish models), and a festal cycle throughout the Church year governed the celebration of feasts and holy days pertaining to the events in the life of Jesus, the lives of the saints, and aspects of the Godhead.

A great deal of emphasis was placed on the forms of worship, as they were seen in terms of the Latin phrase lex orandi, lex credendi ("the rule of prayer is the rule of belief")—that is, the specifics of one's worship express, teach, and govern the doctrinal beliefs of the community. According to this view, alterations in the patterns and content of worship would necessarily reflect a change in the faith itself. Each time a heresy arose in the Church, it was typically accompanied by a shift in worship for the heretical group. Orthodoxy in faith also meant orthodoxy in worship, and vice versa. Thus, unity in Christian worship was understood to be a fulfillment of Jesus' words that the time was at hand when true worshipers would worship "in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23).

Early Church Fathers

The theme of worship is taken up by many of the Church Fathers including Justin Martyr, Irenaeus and Hippolytus of Rome (c. 170-c. 236). The Holy Eucharist was the central act of worship in early Christianity. The liturgy of the synagogues and the ritual of the Jewish temple, both of which were participated in by early Christians, helped shape the form of the early Christian liturgy, which was a dual liturgy of the word and of the Eucharist; this early structure of the liturgy still exists in the Catholic Mass and Eastern Divine Liturgy. The early Christian use of incense in worship first originated in Christian funeral rites, and was later used during regular worship services. Incense was also used in the Bible to worship God and symbolize prayer, in both the Old Testament and New Testament; one of the three Magi offered Christ frankincense, and in the Book of Revelation, angels and saints appear in Heaven offering incense to God, thus setting a precedent for Christian use of incense in worship.

Reformation liturgies

Worship as singing underwent great changes for some Christians within the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther, a music lover, composed hymns that are still sung today, and expected congregations to be active participants in the service, singing along.[ citation needed ]

John Calvin, in Geneva, argued that while instrumental music had its time with the Levites of the Old Testament, it was no longer a proper expression for the church. [ citation needed ] This was expanded upon by John Knox (see Presbyterian worship); only Psalms were sung, and they were sung a cappella. Furthermore, in the Genevan and Scottish Reformed tradition, man-made hymns are not sung, being seen inferior to the God-inspired psalms of the Bible. The Calvinist Regulative Principle of Worship distinguishes traditional Presbyterian and Reformed churches from the Lutheran or other Protestant churches.

Present day

A congregation during a Christian service of worship, with women observing the ordinance of headcovering (Brazil) CCB - Foto historica em Guaianases.jpg
A congregation during a Christian service of worship, with women observing the ordinance of headcovering (Brazil)

Current Christian worship practices are diverse in modern Christianity, with a range of customs and theological views. Three broad groupings can be identified, and whilst some elements are universal, style and content varies greatly due to the history and differing emphases of the various branches of Christianity.

In many Christian traditions, regular public worship is complemented by worship in private and small groups, such as meditation, prayer and study. [3] Singing often forms an important part of Christian worship. [4]

Common elements

While differing considerably in form, the following items characterise the worship of virtually all Christian churches.

Sacramental tradition

Pope Benedict XVI elevating the Eucharist for worship of the faithful amidst incense BentoXVI-51-11052007 (frag).jpg
Pope Benedict XVI elevating the Eucharist for worship of the faithful amidst incense

This grouping can also be referred to as the Eucharistic or Catholic tradition, but note that it is not limited to the Catholic Church, but also includes the Oriental Orthodox churches, the Eastern Orthodox churches, the Lutheran churches, and most branches of the Anglican Communion. Worship (variously known as the Mass, Divine Liturgy, Divine Service, Eucharist, or Communion) is formal and centres on the offering of thanks and praise for the death and resurrection of Christ over the people's offerings of bread and wine, breaking the bread, and the receiving of the Eucharist, seen as the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Churches in this group understand worship as a mystic participation in the death and resurrection of Christ, through which they are united with him and with each other. Services are structured according to a liturgy and typically include other elements such as prayers, psalms, hymns, choral music (including polyphonic chant, plainchant, and hymnody) the reading of Scripture, and some form of teaching or homily. In the theology of the Catholic Church, the Mass takes on another dimension, that of a sacrifice which involves a ritualistic re-presentation of the Body and Blood of Christ to God the Father. The liturgy, normally led by a priest who wears vestments (a form of sacred clothing), includes the ritual usage of sacred liturgical vessels, incense, candles, and holy water, and includes ritual acts of bowing, prostration, kneeling, kissing sacred images and relics, and crossing oneself. In the Catholic Church there is a diversity of ancient liturgical rites: the Roman Rite (including both the Tridentine Mass and the ordinary-form Roman Rite) the Byzantine Rite, the Ge'ez Rite, and the Antiochene Rite to name several of the more prominent examples.

Within the Catholic Church, the charismatic movement has had much less influence, although modern Christian hymnody is found in some parishes, owing a large part to a movement known as the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. [5] [6] [7] Worship practices in the Eastern Churches have largely remained traditional.

Reformation tradition

In many Protestant groups, such as the Methodist and Reformed churches and some parts of the Anglican Communion, corporate worship is shaped by the legacy of the Reformation. Worship in such a context also generally features spoken prayer (either unscripted or prepared), Scripture readings, congregational singing of hymns, and a sermon. Some liturgy is normally used but may not be described as such. The Lord's Supper, or Communion, is celebrated less frequently (intervals vary from once a week to annually according to the denomination or local church). Vestments are less elaborate or absent.[ citation needed ]

Charismatic tradition

A contemporary worship team leads the congregation in praise and worship Harvest Community Church Goshen Worship Service 1-24-2016.jpg
A contemporary worship team leads the congregation in praise and worship

In Charismatic Christianity (including pentecostalism, the charismatic movement, neo-charismatic movement and certain parts of nondenominational Christianity), worship is viewed like an act of adoration of God, with a more informal conception. [8] Some gatherings take place in auditoriums with few religious signs. [9] [10] There is no dress style. Since the beginning of charismatic movement of the 1960s there have been significant changes to Christian worship practices of many denominations. [11] A new music-centered approach to worship, known as contemporary worship, is now commonplace. This replaces the traditional order of worship based around liturgy or a "hymn-prayer sandwich" with extended periods of congregational singing sometimes referred to as "block worship". The worship has two parts; one in the beginning with music and the second part with sermon and Lord's Supper. [12]

In the 1980s and 1990s, Contemporary worship music settled in many evangelical churches. [13] [14] This music is written in the style of popular music, christian rock or folk music and therefore differs considerably from traditional hymns. [15] It is frequently played on a range of instruments that would not have previously been used in churches such as guitars (including electric) and drum kits.

Types of Christian worship

Regular Sunday services are a part of most traditions. The Eucharist may be celebrated at some or all of these; often it is included either once a month or once a quarter. A few denominations have their main weekly services on Saturday rather than Sunday. Larger churches often tend to have several services each Sunday; often two or three in the morning and one or two in the late afternoon or evening.

Sacraments, ordinances, holy mysteries

Some clergy may wear vestments such as the alb (pictured) when celebrating rites such as baptism Anglican priest vested in an alb, cincture and purple stole.jpg
Some clergy may wear vestments such as the alb (pictured) when celebrating rites such as baptism

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Anglicanism</span> Christian denominational tradition

Anglicanism is a Western Christian tradition that has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation, in the context of the Protestant Reformation in Europe. It is one of the largest branches of Christianity, with around 110 million adherents worldwide as of 2001.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mass (liturgy)</span> Type of worship service within many Christian denominations

Mass is the main Eucharistic liturgical service in many forms of Western Christianity. The term Mass is commonly used in the Catholic Church, Western Rite Orthodoxy, Old Catholicism, and Independent Catholicism. The term is used in some Lutheran churches, as well as in some Anglican churches. The term is also used, on rare occasion, by other Protestant churches.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Divine Liturgy</span> Rite practiced in Eastern Christian traditions

Divine Liturgy or Holy Liturgy is the Eucharistic service of the Byzantine Rite, developed from the Antiochene Rite of Christian liturgy which is that of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. As such, it is used in the Eastern Orthodox, the Greek Catholic Churches, and the Ukrainian Lutheran Church. Although the same term is sometimes applied in English to the Eucharistic service of Armenian Christians, both of the Armenian Apostolic Church and of the Armenian Catholic Church, they use in their own language a term meaning "holy offering" or "holy sacrifice". Other churches also treat "Divine Liturgy" simply as one of many names that can be used, but it is not their normal term.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Contemporary worship music</span> Modern genre of music sung in many churches

Contemporary worship music (CWM), also known as praise and worship music, is a defined genre of Christian music used in contemporary worship. It has developed over the past 60 years and is stylistically similar to pop music. The songs are frequently referred to as "praise songs" or "worship songs" and are typically led by a "worship band" or "praise team", with either a guitarist or pianist leading. It has become a common genre of music sung in many churches, particularly in charismatic or non-denominational Protestant churches with some Roman Catholic congregations incorporating it into their mass as well.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Church service</span> Period of formal public worship

A church service is a formalized period of Christian communal worship, often held in a church building. It often but not exclusively occurs on Sunday, or Saturday in the case of those churches practicing seventh-day Sabbatarianism. The church service is the gathering together of Christians to be taught the "Word of God" and encouraged in their faith. Technically, the "church" in "church service" refers to the gathering of the faithful rather than to the building in which it takes place. In most Christian traditions, services are presided over by clergy wherever possible. Styles of service vary greatly, from the Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, and Lutheran traditions of liturgical worship to the evangelical Protestant style, that often combines worship with teaching for the believers, which may also have an evangelistic component appealing to the non-Christians or skeptics in the congregation. Quakers and some other groups have no formal outline to their services, but allow the worship to develop as the participants present feel moved. The majority of Christian denominations hold church services on the Lord's Day ; a number of traditions have mid-week Wednesday evening services as well. In some Christian denominations, church services are held daily, with these including those in which the canonical hours are prayed, as well as the offering of the Mass, among other forms of worship. In addition to this, many Christians attend services on holy days such as Christmas, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, Ascension Thursday, among others depending on the Christian denomination.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Anglican church music</span> Music genre

Anglican church music is music that is written for Christian worship in Anglican religious services, forming part of the liturgy. It mostly consists of pieces written to be sung by a church choir, which may sing a cappella or accompanied by an organ.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ritualism in the Church of England</span> Emphasis on the rituals and liturgical ceremony of the church

Ritualism, in the history of Christianity, refers to an emphasis on the rituals and liturgical ceremonies of the church. Specifically, the Christian practice of Holy Communion.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Liturgy of Saint James</span>

The Liturgy of Saint James is a form of Christian liturgy used by some Eastern Christians of the Byzantine rite and West Syriac Rite. It is developed from an ancient Egyptian form of the Basilean anaphoric family, and is influenced by the traditions of the rite of the Church of Jerusalem, as the Mystagogic Catecheses of Cyril of Jerusalem imply. It became widespread in Church of Antioch from the fourth or fifth century onwards, replacing the older Basilean Liturgy of Antioch. It is still the principal liturgy of the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, the Maronite Church, the Syriac Catholic Church, Syro-Malankara Catholic Church and other churches employing the West Syriac Rite. It is also occasionally used in the Eastern Orthodox Church and Melkite Catholic Church. The Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church uses a reformed variant of this liturgy, omitting intercession of saints and prayer for the dead.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Christian liturgy</span> Pattern for worship used by a Christian congregation or denomination

Christian liturgy is a pattern for worship used by a Christian congregation or denomination on a regular basis. The term liturgy comes from Greek and means "public work". Within Christianity, liturgies descending from the same region, denomination, or culture are described as ritual families.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Offertory</span> Part of a Eucharistic service

The offertory is the part of a Eucharistic service when the bread and wine for use in the service are ceremonially placed on the altar.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Roman Rite</span> Most widespread liturgical rite in the Roman Catholic Church

The Roman Rite is the most common ritual family for performing the ecclesiastical services of the Latin Church, the largest of the sui iuris particular churches that comprise the Catholic Church. The Roman Rite governs rites such as the Roman Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours as well as the manner in which sacraments and blessings are performed.

The Charismatic Episcopal Church (CEC), officially the International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church (ICCEC), is a Christian denomination established in 1992. The ICCEC is a part of the Convergence Movement. Within North America, most of the Charismatic Episcopal Church's congregations and missions are located within the Northern, Southeastern, Midwest, and Western United States; it also has a presence in Texas, and in Western Canada.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament</span>

Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, also called Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament or the Rite of Eucharistic Exposition and Benediction, is a devotional ceremony, celebrated especially in the Roman Catholic Church, but also in some other Christian traditions such as Anglo-Catholicism, whereby a bishop, priest, or a deacon blesses the congregation with the Eucharist at the end of a period of adoration.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Anglican eucharistic theology</span>

Anglican eucharistic theology is diverse in practice, reflecting the comprehensiveness of Anglicanism. Its sources include prayer book rubrics, writings on sacramental theology by Anglican divines, and the regulations and orientations of ecclesiastical provinces. The principal source material is the Book of Common Prayer, specifically its eucharistic prayers and Article XXVIII of the Thirty-Nine Articles. Article XXVIII comprises the foundational Anglican doctrinal statement about the Eucharist, although its interpretation varies among churches of the Anglican Communion and in different traditions of churchmanship such as Anglo-Catholicism and Evangelical Anglicanism.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alexandrian liturgical rites</span> Liturgical rites used by Coptic and Orthodox Tewahedo Church

Alexandrian rites are a collection of ritual families and uses of Christian liturgy employed by three Oriental Orthodox churches, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, and Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, as well as by their Eastern Catholic counterparts of the Coptic Catholic Church, Eritrean Catholic Church, and Ethiopian Catholic Church.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mass in the Catholic Church</span> Central liturgical ritual of the Catholic Church

The Mass is the central liturgical service of the Eucharist in the Catholic Church, in which bread and wine are consecrated and become the body and blood of Christ. As defined by the Church at the Council of Trent, in the Mass "the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross, is present and offered in an unbloody manner". The Church describes the Mass as the "source and summit of the Christian life", and teaches that the Mass is a sacrifice, in which the sacramental bread and wine, through consecration by an ordained priest, become the sacrificial body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ as the sacrifice on Calvary made truly present once again on the altar. The Catholic Church permits only baptised members in the state of grace to receive Christ in the Eucharist.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Divine Service (Lutheran)</span> Lutheran liturgy

The Divine Service is a title given to the Eucharistic liturgy as used in the various Lutheran churches. It has its roots in the Pre-Tridentine Mass as revised by Martin Luther in his Formula missae of 1523 and his Deutsche Messe of 1526. It was further developed through the Kirchenordnungen of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that followed in Luther's tradition.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mass of the Lord's Supper</span> Beginning of the Paschal Triduum

The Mass of the Lord's Supper, also known as A Service of Worship for Maundy Thursday, is a Holy Week service celebrated on the evening of Maundy Thursday. It inaugurates the Easter Triduum, and commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples, more explicitly than other celebrations of the Mass.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Contemporary worship</span>

Contemporary worship is a form of Christian worship that emerged within Western evangelical Protestantism in the 20th century. It was originally confined to the charismatic movement, but is now found in a wide range of churches, including many which do not subscribe to a charismatic theology. Contemporary worship uses contemporary worship music in an informal setting. Congregational singing typically comprises a greater proportion of the service than in conventional forms of worship. Where contemporary worship is practiced in churches with a liturgical tradition, elements of the liturgy are frequently kept to a minimum. The terms historic worship, traditional worship or liturgical worship are sometimes used to describe conventional worship forms and distinguish them from contemporary worship.

Protestant liturgy or Evangelical liturgy is a pattern for worship used by a Protestant congregation or denomination on a regular basis. The term liturgy comes from Greek and means "public work". Liturgy is especially important in the Historical Protestant churches, both mainline and evangelical, while Baptist, Pentecostal, and nondenominational churches tend to be very flexible and in some cases have no liturgy at all. It often but not exclusively occurs on Sunday.

References

Notes

  1. "worship", Dictionary.com Unabridged, Random House, retrieved 4 Sep 2013
  2. Called to Worship: The Biblical Foundations of Our Response Vernon Whaley - 2009 - In the Greek, the word for worship, proskuneo, means to express deep respect or adoration—by kissing, with words, or by bowing down. Associated words include epaineo, “to commend or applaud”; aineo, “to praise God”; and sebomai,"
  3. 1 2 Church - Question Mark Booklets - Page 16 - ISBN   0-85421-333-3
  4. "Bruderhof Communities". SoundCloud. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
  5. "Tra Le Sollecitudini Instruction on Sacred Music - Adoremus Bulletin". Adoremus.org. 1903-11-22. Retrieved 2019-01-29.
  6. Matthew Hoffman. "Various Statements of Pope Paul VI and Other Authorities". Matthewhoffman.net. Retrieved 2019-01-29.
  7. "Musicae Sacrae (December 25, 1955) | PIUS XII". Vatican.va. Retrieved 2019-01-29.
  8. Gerald R. McDermott, The Oxford Handbook of Evangelical Theology, Oxford University Press, UK, 2013, p. 311
  9. Jeanne Halgren Kilde, Sacred Power, Sacred Space: An Introduction to Christian Architecture and Worship, Oxford University Press, USA, 2008, p. 193
  10. Keith A. Roberts, David Yamane, Religion in Sociological Perspective, SAGE , USA, 2011, p. 209
  11. Robert H. Krapohl, Charles H. Lippy, The Evangelicals: A Historical, Thematic, and Biographical Guide, Greenwood Publishing Group, USA, 1999, p. 171
  12. Charles E. Farhadian, Christian Worship Worldwide: Expanding Horizons, Deepening Practices, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, USA, 2007, p. 112
  13. Suzel Ana Reily, Jonathan M. Dueck, The Oxford Handbook of Music and World Christianities, Oxford University Press, USA, 2016, p. 443
  14. Mathew Guest, Evangelical Identity and Contemporary Culture: A Congregational Study in Innovation, Wipf and Stock Publishers, USA, 2007, p. 42
  15. George Thomas Kurian, Mark A. Lamport, Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States, Volume 5, Rowman & Littlefield, USA, 2016, p. 629

Bibliography