Liturgy : A traditional pattern of Christian Worship
This may not be a familiar concept to everyone who joins us, but it doesn’t have to be daunting or off-putting! It can become understood though participation
As a concept Liturgy comes to us from the earliest days of Christianity when books and scrolls, including Scripture were highly expensive things, owned by the whole church community rather than individuals. Also only a small percentage of the population were could read.
In these times it made sense for Sunday Worship to follow a pattern that people attending could follow without needing to own prayer books.
Over the centuries this pattern of worship has been retained, at least in a general sense, while various ritual traditions have emerged from the needs of the Christian communities, as ways of remembering the essentials of their faith and entering more richly into the life of Christ.
As ARCC grew out of the Anglican community of St Matthew’s, it retained some features of Anglican and Catholic worship, such as ministers in traditional robes or ‘vestments’, using the Revised Common Lectionary (annual cycle of readings) to organise how Scripture is read over the year, lighting candles on a centrally placed altar table, and using the traditional church seasons and their ‘colours’ to provide structure and continuity. While, like any human-made tradition, such things can become dogmatic, used well, they ensure that church does not become dependent on the identity and agenda of just a few individuals.
By following the seasons and cycles of the liturgical year, we also maintain a solidarity with the wider mainstream of Western Christianity throughout the centuries, as well as yearly seasonal patterns that connect us deeply with nature and wider creation.
We also celebrate that Church has always been a place where rainbow Christians have belonged – that rainbow Christians, while seldom visible, have been an integral part of Church for as long as there has been Church. So in doing “traditional church” we are also reclaiming and proclaiming our place in the Church, in both senses of the word, the spiritual body of Christ and its manifestation in organised religion.
If you come from a culture or experience where Church is ‘done differently’ or are new to Christianity, please don’t be discouraged and do not doubt your welcome amongst us.
Sit and enjoy the atmosphere, and join in the responses and singing as you feel appropriate.
And if you have any questions some of the longer attending members will be happy to help.