Saturday, November 21, 2009

Liturgia Expurgata

I like and prefer to worship in a more liturgical manner. I was born and raised Roman Catholic for a time, then (with my parents) switched to being Baptist and as a young person I attended some Pentecostal and charismatic churches as well. I’ve also experienced worship at Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, Church of Christ, and Eastern Orthodox churches as well. These churches have a great diversity in styles of worship, ranging from very subdued and solemn to frenzied and chaotic.
I much prefer the more structured and liturgical forms of worship. I have been a member of a Presbyterian (PCA) church for more than two decades, and I came to the Presbyterian Church from a Southern Baptist Church. At that time our little Presbyterian congregation worshipped a great deal like the Baptist Churches I had attended, except the Baptists sang only the 1st, 2nd and last verse to most songs and the Presbyterians sang every verse to every song used in worship and the Presbyterians did not have an “alter call” at the end of each service.
Our little PCA church was really Southern Baptist except for the fact that we were Calvinists and we baptised babies. This is not true today. Over the years, as a congregation, we have become more and more “Reformed” in our thinking and our worship has become more liturgical. In that same period I have grown to love liturgical worship and find most non-liturgical worship to be a lot less worshipful.
Now that I have come to appreciate a more structured and worship in which the worshippers truly participate in the worship, I have become more and more interested in liturgy and its history and so I started searching for books on the subject. I was very excited to find Liturgia Expurgata or, The Prayer-Book as Amended by the Westminster Divines: An Essay on the Liturgical Question in the American Churches, by Charles W. Shields on Google Books. I’ve read it and found it to be interesting and informative. Now I want to study the subject more and I want to discuss the issue with a more knowledgeable person like my pastor.
After reading this book, I appreciate our little church’s liturgical form of worship even more than I already did.
Coram Deo,

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