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Bread and Wine

Worship as Liturgy

Another word that might be unfamiliar is liturgy.  This word also is found in the Bible and means worship or service to God.  In the letter to the Hebrews, we read, "[Moses] sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship (liturgy)" (Hebrews 9:21).

The word liturgy comes from Ancient Greek where it signified "public service" or "public work."  The word's origin reveals that the worship of God is a public work.  In other words, it is done for the good of the world.

Although people frequently believe a worship service is something done by humans, God actually does the liturgy, because it continues Christ's work of recalling a people who have turned away from God.  Humanity's waywardness from God is seen in the frequent news stories of crime, war and corruption.  We also see it in our hateful thoughts and hurtful words or actions towards others and our failures to help others who are in need.

We participate in God's redeeming work for the world in the liturgy.  The story of God and the world, as seen in the scriptures, is of God reaching out to recall a wayward world to the full richness of life desired by God in creation.  God first calls a people to be a light to the world.  When this people fails to keep God's holy ways, God sends prophets to call them back.  Finally, God sends the only son, Jesus, who gives his life on behalf of all the peoples of the world.  This work continues through the gift of God's Spirit, called the Holy Spirit, who filled the first disciples with the presence and power of God to proclaim and to continue God's redeeming work.