Why Anglicanism? Part II
Cooperating with God in our Prayer and Praise
It should be noted that every church has a liturgy. The word means “work of the people,” and if you have a group of people with any kind of shape or form to their worship, they have a “liturgy.” If something happens, and God is involved in some context, it was a liturgy. One of my favorite liturgies is washing dishes: I pray for people when I do it. One can discuss how “structured” or “freeform” or of what variety a public liturgy (worship service) can be, but not whether or not worship is itself “liturgical.” [Update: This proves my point very well.]
The liturgies in the Book of Common Prayer are mostly scripture readings that we say to ourselves so that our praying (and ultimately our thinking) will be conformed to a scriptural pattern. “Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds.” In our prayers and praises to God, we fill our minds and our lips with the Scriptures and the faith that has been passed down over centuries, because this is one avenue of God’s transformation, forming us into the likeness of Christ. I don’t see this as a limiting issue, but one of freedom. We are taught to pray rightly so that we will be free to do so. Most of my own personal and public prayers are extemporaneous, but some I learn from scripture and the ancient teachers of the Church.
I also was discipled in an environment where appropriate worship meant mustering good feelings toward God. Having a supportive liturgy teaches me that praising God is about praising God, not feeling nice about him. You can’t always feel nice about him, and I need to know that sometimes.
My other writings on worship and prayer:
On The Liturgy of the Hours
feeling the feelings…
10 months ago