In Church's Worship this week, we talked about liturgy. Usually, when we use the word liturgy, or say that a church is liturgical, we mean that it has a well-defined order for the service, a template that every worship service follows. Because of that, liturgy can have a pejorative sense of being strict and boring.
However, as many of you may already know, the origin of the word "liturgy" actually means "the work of the people". So in fact, what makes a service liturgical is not how formulaic it is, but rather how participatory it is. As Dr. Oldenburg pointed out, in the original sense of the word, the most liturgical churches in early American history were actually the black churches and the Quakers.
Obviously, Lutheran churches today are liturgical in both senses, but in Church's Worship we're emphasizing the original meaning. As a leader of worship, I could follow the order of the service to the smallest detail, but if the people are not participating, I'm not doing my job. That makes the order of worship a little less intimidating. As Pastor Steve told me about the worship service at ITS, "The Word of God needs to be proclaimed and the Meal shared. Everything else is just details."
In other news, I've received my Teaching Parish assignment. Steve and I are going to be at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church of Westminster, MD. We're being placed together, which is unusual, because we are a couple, and Grace has a clergy couple, Kevin and Martha, serving as co-senior pastors. We start Teaching Parish tomorrow, and I'll give my impressions of Grace in my next post.