Christian worship

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Worship at a Byzantine Catholic altar At altar.JPG
Worship at a Byzantine Catholic altar
An altar (shown above) is a solid stone or wooden table used for the celebration of the Eucharist in some Christian worship rites Altar.stmaryredcliffe.arp.jpg
An altar (shown above) is a solid 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 Scripture, particularly the Psalter; this form of sacramental and ceremonial worship is still practiced by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglican churches, as well as some Protestant denominations such as Lutheranism and Methodism. In Evangelicalism, worship is viewed like an act of adoration of God, with a more informal conception.

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 seemed first to originate 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

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), may include the ritual usage of sacred liturgical vessels, incense, candles, and holy water. 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 ]

Evangelicalism

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 evangelicalism (including pentecostalism, the charismatic movement, neo-charismatic movement and 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

Other liturgical traditions: non-sacraments

Major collections

Prayer

Psalms

Profession of faith

Other

Music

Chant

Classical and Baroque

Modern

Contemporary

See also

Related Research Articles

Mass (liturgy) 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, and in the Western Rite Orthodox, and Old Catholic churches. The term is used in some Lutheran churches, as well as in some Anglican churches. It is rarely, if ever, used by other Protestant churches, such as in Methodism.

Liturgy is the customary public worship performed by a religious group. As a religious phenomenon, liturgy represents a communal response to and participation in the sacred through activity reflecting praise, thanksgiving, supplication or repentance. It forms a basis for establishing a relationship with a divine agency, as well as with other participants in the liturgy.

Vespers Sunset evening prayer service

Vespers is a sunset evening prayer service in the Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Eastern Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran liturgies of the canonical hours. The word comes from the Greek ἑσπέρα ("hespera") and the Latin vesper, meaning "evening". It is also referred to in the Anglican tradition as evening prayer or evensong. The term is also used in some other Protestant denominations to describe evening services.

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Divine Liturgy 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 Byzantine 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.

Kyrie Christian liturgical prayer

Kyrie, a transliteration of Greek Κύριε, vocative case of Κύριος (Kyrios), is a common name of an important prayer of Christian liturgy, also called the Kyrie eleison.

Anglican church music music that is written for Christian worship in Anglican religious services, forming part of the liturgy

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.

Liturgy of Saint James an Eastern Christian liturgy

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 the oldest complete form of the Eastern Christian liturgies, and is based on the traditions of the ancient rite of the Church of Jerusalem, as the Mystagogic Catecheses of Cyril of Jerusalem imply. Forming the historical basis of the Liturgy of Antioch, it is still the principal liturgy of the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, the Syriac Catholic Church, the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, the British Orthodox Church and the Maronite Church. 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 prayers for Intercession to Saints.

Christian liturgy

Christian liturgy is a pattern for worship used by a Christian congregation or denomination on a regular basis. Although the term liturgy is used to mean public worship in general, the Byzantine Rite uses the term "Divine Liturgy" to denote the Eucharistic service.

Church music music mainly written for performance in Christian service facilities

Church music is music written for performance in church, or any musical setting of ecclesiastical liturgy, or music set to words expressing propositions of a sacred nature, such as a hymn.

Roman Rite Most widespread liturgical rite in the Latin Church

The Roman Rite is the main liturgical rite of the Latin or Western Church, the largest of the sui iuris particular Churches that make up the Catholic Church. It developed in the Latin language in the city of Rome and, while distinct Latin liturgical rites such as the Ambrosian Rite remain, the Roman Rite has over time been adopted almost everywhere in the Western Church. In medieval times there were very many local variants, even if they did not all amount to distinct rites, but uniformity grew as a result of the invention of printing and in obedience to the decrees of the 1545–1563 Council of Trent. Several Latin liturgical rites that survived into the 20th century were abandoned voluntarily in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. The Roman Rite is now the most widespread liturgical rite not only in the Latin Church but in Christianity as a whole.

Charismatic Episcopal Church

The Charismatic Episcopal Church, more officially known as the International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church (ICCEC), is a Christian denomination established as an autocephalous communion in 1992. The ICCEC states that it is not a splinter group of any other denomination or communion, but is a convergence of the sacramental, evangelical, and charismatic traditions that it perceives in the Church from the apostolic era until present times.

Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament

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.

Alexandrian Rite liturgical rite used by the Coptic Catholic Church and the Coptic Orthodox Church

The Alexandrian Rite is the liturgical rite used by the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church and Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, as well as by their three corresponding Eastern Catholic Churches.

Catholic liturgy Roman Catholic rituals and ceremonies

In the Catholic Church, liturgy is divine worship, the proclamation of the Gospel, and active charity.

Divine Service (Lutheran)

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.

The Liturgy of Saint Basil or, more formally, the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great, is a term for several Eastern Christian celebrations of the Divine Liturgy (Eucharist), or at least several anaphoras, which are named after Basil of Caesarea. Two of these liturgies are in common use today: the one used in the Byzantine Rite ten times a year, and the one ordinarily used by the Coptic Church.

Eastern Orthodox worship

Eastern Orthodox worship in this article is distinguished from Eastern Orthodox prayer in that 'worship' refers to the activity of the Christian Church as a body offering up prayers to God while 'prayer' refers to the individual devotional traditions of the Orthodox.

Liturgical book Christian prayer book

A liturgical book, or service book, is a book published by the authority of a church body that contains the text and directions for the liturgy of its official religious services.

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