Thoughts on Liturgical Worship

I’ve noticed that liturgical worship is much more communal. The words and prayers are set out in the liturgy, allowing the congregation to participate as one. The congregation even confesses as one, reading the same generic prayer of confession. This is in stark contrast to my upbringing in the Baptist church, where everything is personal and private.

The differences abound. In the Episcopal church I’ve been attending I’ve found the liturgy refreshing. I take part in a mass confession, and actually confess my sins to God. The danger is that it will become meaningless through repetition; one day I may just mumble through the words and not realize what I’m saying. That’s what my Baptist self says. But my Baptist self was never put in a position where confession was a weekly ritual. My Baptist self was rarely given the opportunity to confess, thus it happened rarely.

It’s an interesting concept. Communal practices can easily become mere ritual. But the individualistic approach puts much more responsibility on the individual, and the result is often a lack of those very practices.

This leads me to believe that the Baptist approach to Christianity is more American. The Baptist denomination is about the individual. They are rarely confronted with the kinds of things liturgy brings every week through communal response. In my experience Baptists turn to the potluck for community.

Just a few completely biased and not fully thought-through ideas on denominations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *