Liturgy? Hmm....

Liturgy, translated from the Greek word (which occurs a few times in the NT, see my post below for more on that) means 'work of the people'. Recently, my friend Erik, who is studying theology at Oxford, preached the sermon below. Please check it out, it is very insightful from a Western point of view.

Liturgy refers to, in modern terms, the flow of the worship service. Don't get me wrong: every church has a liturgy. Sometimes it is written down, like in most Lutheran or Episcopal churches, sometimes it is simply memorized by the congregation, like in most Baptist or non-denom churches. There is music, then a prayer for this, then a prayer for that, then a sermon, then a prayer for X, then there is Y, and finally there is Z. That is liturgy, to put it in rather vulgar terms.

This is what he is talking about. Please read his homily carefully and post your comments on his blog at Priests and Paramedics

In terms of our work here, the question for us is: what kind of liturgy works well for Christians who comes from a Muslims background? That is a complicated and--really--a very difficult question. Should they separate men and women? Should they baptize children or not? Should they read from the Qu'ran and the Bible, or only the Bible? Should they kneel facing Mecca? Jerusalem? The rising sun in the East? (Most Christian churches face east, because Jesus is the Sun of Righteousness and the Light of the Word.)

"The Gospel does not destroy cultures, it fulfills them," said Pope Paul VI in his letter to the church called, "The Gospel is Preached." A great insight. Our task here is to figure out what exactly that looks like. Erik is trying to do that in post-modern Europe and post-Christian USA, we are doing that here in our home country in Dar al Islam.


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