Liturgy is the word we use to describe what goes on in a worship service. Every service of worship has a liturgy even if they don’t have one written down. The most contemporary or charismatic services still follow a pattern. I have a friend who sometimes leads worship at a contemporary mega-church in Austin, and the worship team there has every minute of the service scheduled out, including (sometimes) space for spontaneous prayer. They just don’t give the schedule to people who attend.
Liturgy comes from two greek words: Leitos (meaning public) and ergos (meaning work). It is a public work. Liturgy does not mean incense and frocks and other accoutrements, it is a public work. The liturgy is what we do in worship.
We all participate in the liturgy. It is not something that any one of us can do. Vikki can’t do it. I can’t do it.
Worship is not about the passive transfer of information. Even though I sometimes quote Greek, a sermon is not a lecture. Even though our musicians are amazing, an anthem is not a concert. We sometimes call it a worship service. It is a service in that we do something for others. We do not worship for ourselves. We cannot worship for ourselves. We worship for God or we don’t worship at all. We worship together or we don’t worship at all.
Starting in January, I am going to use this space to talk about the different parts of the worship service at Berkeley. Each is intentional. Nothing is haphazard.
We are not the first people to worship our risen savior, Jesus Christ. We learn patterns from the past, from our Scriptures, from the ways that we have come to grow closer to God, and we continue them, doing the public work of worship together. This is what we do on Sundays. This is what we do on Christmas eve. Together we worship our Lord.