Christian worship

In Christianity, worship is the act of attributing reverent honor and homage to God.[1] In the New Testament, various words are used to refer to the term worship. One is proskuneo ("to worship") which means to bow down to God or kings.[2]

Throughout most of Christianity's history, corporate Christian worship has been liturgical, characterized by prayers and hymns, with texts rooted in, or closely related to, the Scripture, particularly the Psalter; this form of sacramental and ceremonial worship is still practiced by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglican churches, as well as some Protestant denominations such as Lutheranism and Methodism. In Evangelicalism, worship is viewed like an act of adoration of God, with a more informal conception.

The term liturgy is derived from the Greek leitourgia meaning "public service" and is formed by two words: "laos" (people) and "ergon" (work), literally "work of the people". Responsorial prayers are a series of petitions read or sung by a leader with responses made by the congregation. Set times for prayer during the day were established (based substantially on Jewish models), and a festal cycle throughout the Church year governed the celebration of feasts and holy days pertaining to the events in the life of Jesus, the lives of the saints, and aspects of the Godhead.

A great deal of emphasis was placed on the forms of worship, as they were seen in terms of the Latin phrase lex orandi, lex credendi ("the rule of prayer is the rule of belief")—that is, the specifics of one's worship express, teach, and govern the doctrinal beliefs of the community. According to this view, alterations in the patterns and content of worship would necessarily reflect a change in the faith itself. Each time a heresy arose in the Church, it was typically accompanied by a shift in worship for the heretical group. Orthodoxy in faith also meant orthodoxy in worship, and vice versa. Thus, unity in Christian worship was understood to be a fulfillment of Jesus' words that the time was at hand when true worshipers would worship "in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23).

Altar.stmaryredcliffe.arp
An altar (shown above) is a solid stone or wooden table used for the celebration of the Eucharist in some Christian worship rites
Lakewood worship
Worship in an Evangelical Church, Lakewood Church
Procesión del Milagro en la provincia de Salta - Argentina
A Catholic Procession in Salta, Argentina

Early Church Fathers

The theme of worship is taken up by many of the Church Fathers including Justin Martyr, Irenaeus and Hippolytus of Rome (c. 170-c. 236). The Holy Eucharist was the central act of worship in early Christianity. The liturgy of the synagogues and the ritual of the Jewish temple, both of which were participated in by early Christians, helped shape the form of the early Christian liturgy, which was a dual liturgy of the word and of the Eucharist; this early structure of the liturgy still exists in the Catholic Mass and Eastern Divine Liturgy. The early Christian use of incense in worship seemed first to originate in Christian funeral rites, and was later used during regular worship services. Incense was also used in the Bible to worship God and symbolize prayer, in both the Old Testament and New Testament; one of the three Magi offered Christ frankincense, and in the Book of Revelation, angels and saints appear in Heaven offering incense to God, thus setting a precedent for Christian use of incense in worship.

From Jewish to Christian services

The first miracle of the Apostles, the healing of the crippled man on the temple steps, occurred because Peter and John went to the Temple to pray (Acts 3:1). Since the Apostles were originally Jews, see Jewish Christians, the concept of fixed hours for services, and services therefore which differed from weekday to Sabbath to holy day, were familiar to them. Pliny the Younger (63 - ca. 113), who was not a Christian himself, mentions not only fixed times of prayer by believers, but also specific services—other than the Eucharist—assigned to those times: "They met on a stated day before it was light, and addressed a form of prayer to Christ, as to a divinity ... after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble, to eat in common a harmless meal."[3]

The real evolution of the Christian service in the first century is shrouded in mystery. By the second and third centuries, such Church Fathers as Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Tertullian wrote of formalised, regular services: the practice of Morning and Evening Prayer, and prayers at the third hour of the day (terce), the sixth hour of the day (sext), and the ninth hour of the day (none). With reference to the Jewish practices, it is surely no coincidence that these major hours of prayer correspond to the first and last hour of the conventional day, and that on Sundays (corresponding to the Sabbath in Christianity), the services are more complex and longer (involving twice as many services if one counts the Eucharist and the afternoon service). Similarly, the liturgical year from Christmas via Easter to Pentecost covers roughly five months, the other seven having no major services linked to the work of Christ. However, this is not to say that the Jewish services were copied or deliberately substituted, see Supersessionism.

Reformation liturgies

Worship as singing underwent great changes for some Christians within the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther, a music lover, composed hymns that are still sung today, and expected congregations to be active participants in the service, singing along.

John Calvin, in Geneva, argued that while instrumental music had its time with the Levites of the Old Testament, it was no longer a proper expression for the church. This was expanded upon by John Knox (see Presbyterian worship); only Psalms were sung, and they were sung a cappella. Furthermore, in the Genevan and Scottish Reformed tradition, man-made hymns are not sung, being seen inferior to the God-inspired psalms of the Bible. The Calvinist Regulative Principle of Worship distinguishes traditional Presbyterian and Reformed churches from the Lutheran or other Protestant churches.

Present day

Camp Worship
Children at a Gospel presentation

Current Christian worship practices are diverse in modern Christianity, with a range of customs and theological views. Three broad groupings can be identified, and whilst some elements are universal, style and content varies greatly due to the history and differing emphases of the various branches of Christianity.

In many Christian traditions, regular public worship is complemented by worship in private and small groups, such as meditation, prayer and study.[4] Singing often forms an important part of Christian worship.[5]

Common elements

While differing considerably in form, the following items characterise the worship of virtually all Christian churches.

Sacramental tradition

BentoXVI-51-11052007 (frag)
Pope Benedict XVI elevating the Eucharist for worship of the faithful amidst incense

This grouping can also be referred to as the Eucharistic or Catholic tradition, but note that it is not limited to the Catholic Church, but also includes the Oriental Orthodox churches, the Eastern Orthodox churches, the Lutheran churches, and most branches of the Anglican Communion. Worship (variously known as the Mass, Divine Liturgy, Divine Service, Eucharist, or Communion) is formal and centres on the offering of thanks and praise for the death and resurrection of Christ over the people's offerings of bread and wine, breaking the bread, and the receiving of the Eucharist, seen as the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Churches in this group understand worship as a mystic participation in the death and resurrection of Christ, through which they are united with him and with each other. Services are structured according to a liturgy and typically include other elements such as prayers, psalms, hymns, choral music (including polyphonic chant, plainchant, and hymnody) the reading of Scripture, and some form of teaching or homily. In the theology of the Catholic Church, the Mass takes on another dimension, that of a sacrifice which involves a ritualistic re-presentation of the Body and Blood of Christ to God the Father. The liturgy, normally led by a priest who wears vestments (a form of sacred clothing), may include the ritual usage of sacred liturgical vessels, incense, candles, and holy water. In the Catholic Church there is a diversity of ancient liturgical rites: the Roman Rite (including both the Tridentine Mass and the ordinary-form Roman Rite) the Byzantine Rite, the Ge'ez Rite, and the Antiochene Rite to name several of the more prominent examples.

Within the Catholic Church, the charismatic movement has had much less influence, although modern Christian hymnody is found in some parishes, owing a large part to a movement known as the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.[6][7][8] Worship practices in the Eastern Churches have largely remained traditional.

Reformation tradition

In many Protestant groups, such as the Methodist and Reformed churches and some parts of the Anglican Communion, corporate worship is shaped by the legacy of the Reformation. Worship in such a context also generally features spoken prayer (either unscripted or prepared), Scripture readings, congregational singing of hymns, and a sermon. Some liturgy is normally used but may not be described as such. The Lord's Supper, or Communion, is celebrated less frequently (intervals vary from once a week to annually according to the denomination or local church). Vestments are less elaborate or absent.

Evangelicalism

Harvest Community Church Goshen Worship Service 1-24-2016
A contemporary worship team leads the congregation in praise and worship

In Evangelicalism (baptism, pentecostalism, evangelical charismatic movement, neo-charismatic movement and nondenominational Christianity), worship is viewed like an act of adoration of God, with a more informal conception.[9] Some gatherings take place in auditoriums with few religious signs.[10][11] There is no dress style. Since the beginning of charismatic movement of the 1960s there have been significant changes to Christian worship practices of many denominations.[12] A new music-centered approach to worship, known as contemporary worship, is now commonplace. This replaces the traditional order of worship based around liturgy or a "hymn-prayer sandwich" with extended periods of congregational singing sometimes referred to as "block worship". The worship has two parts; one in the beginning with music and the second part with sermon and Lord's Supper. [13]

In 1980s and 1990s, Contemporary worship music settled in many Evangelical churches.[14][15] This music is written in the style of popular music, christian rock or folk music and therefore differs considerably from traditional hymns.[16] It is frequently played on a range of instruments that would not have previously been used in churches such as guitars (including electric) and drum kits.

Types of Christian worship

St Maria Sehnde Gottesdienst
A Catholic Mass at St. Maria Church, Sehnde
Gottesdienst aktuell
A contemporary Sunday service at a Protestant church
Churchover
An evangelical church service
Ökumenischer-Gottesdienst
Ecumenical open-air service on Easter Monday in Germany

Christian worship take many forms, and set liturgies may have different names. Services typically include:

  • Regular Sunday services. These are a part of most traditions. Holy Communion may be celebrated at some or all of these; often it is included either once a month or once a quarter. A few denominations have their main weekly services on Saturday rather than Sunday. Larger churches often tend to have several services each Sunday; often two or three in the morning and one or two in the late afternoon or evening.
  • Midweek services. Again, Holy Communion can be part of these, either on every occasion or on a regular basis.
  • Holiday services. Treated like a regular Sunday service, but made more specific for the day.
  • Weddings. These are normally separate services, rather than being incorporated into a regular service, but may be either.
  • Funerals. These are always separate services.
  • Baptisms. These may be incorporated into a regular service, or separate.
  • Confirmation. This is normally incorporated into a regular Sunday service, which will also include communion. It was traditionally the first Communion of the confirmee, but more recently children whether confirmed or not are invited to communion in some denominations.
  • Ordination of clergy. New bishops, elders, priests and deacons are usually ordained or installed generally in a solemn but celebratory ceremony on Saturday or Sunday generally open to the public either by their own superior or another approved senior minister with ordination powers either at the area headquarters church or the cathedral or another church agreed upon by those to be ordained and the ordaining ministers. Ordination of bishops or elders may require consecration by more than one individual and have a more limited audience.
  • First Communion. Children may celebrate Communion for the first time.
  • Opening of new churches or church buildings.
  • Dedication of new missionaries or those about to be sent on new missions.
  • Compline
  • Canonical hours
  • Divine Liturgy
  • Divine Service (Lutheran)
  • Evening Prayer (Anglican)
  • Easter Vigil
  • Mass (liturgy)
  • Morning Prayer (Anglican)

Sacraments, ordinances, holy mysteries

Other liturgical traditions: non-sacraments

Major collections

Prayer

Psalms

Profession of faith

Other

Music

Chant

Classical and Baroque

Modern

Contemporary

See also

References

Notes
  1. ^ "worship", Dictionary.com Unabridged, Random House, retrieved 4 Sep 2013
  2. ^ Called to Worship: The Biblical Foundations of Our Response Vernon Whaley - 2009 - In the Greek, the word for worship, proskuneo, means to express deep respect or adoration—by kissing, with words, or by bowing down. Associated words include epaineo, “to commend or applaud”; aineo, “to praise God”; and sebomai,"
  3. ^ Pliny the Younger, Epistulae, Book X, Letter xcvii.
  4. ^ a b Church - Question Mark Booklets - Page 16 - ISBN 0-85421-333-3
  5. ^ "Bruderhof Communities". SoundCloud. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
  6. ^ "Tra Le Sollecitudini Instruction on Sacred Music - Adoremus Bulletin". Adoremus.org. 1903-11-22. Retrieved 2019-01-29.
  7. ^ Matthew Hoffman. "Various Statements of Pope Paul VI and Other Authorities". Matthewhoffman.net. Retrieved 2019-01-29.
  8. ^ "Musicae Sacrae (December 25, 1955) | PIUS XII". Vatican.va. Retrieved 2019-01-29.
  9. ^ Gerald R. McDermott, The Oxford Handbook of Evangelical Theology, Oxford University Press, UK, 2013, p. 311
  10. ^ Jeanne Halgren Kilde, Sacred Power, Sacred Space: An Introduction to Christian Architecture and Worship, Oxford University Press, USA, 2008, p. 193
  11. ^ Keith A. Roberts, David Yamane, Religion in Sociological Perspective, SAGE , USA, 2011, p. 209
  12. ^ Robert H. Krapohl, Charles H. Lippy, The Evangelicals: A Historical, Thematic, and Biographical Guide, Greenwood Publishing Group, USA, 1999, p. 171
  13. ^ Charles E. Farhadian, Christian Worship Worldwide: Expanding Horizons, Deepening Practices, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, USA, 2007, p. 112
  14. ^ Suzel Ana Reily, Jonathan M. Dueck, The Oxford Handbook of Music and World Christianities, Oxford University Press, USA, 2016, p. 443
  15. ^ Mathew Guest, Evangelical Identity and Contemporary Culture: A Congregational Study in Innovation, Wipf and Stock Publishers, USA, 2007, p. 42
  16. ^ George Thomas Kurian, Mark A. Lamport, Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States, Volume 5, Rowman & Littlefield, USA, 2016, p. 629
Bibliography
  • Lang, Bernhard (1997), Sacred Games: A History of Christian Worship, New Haven: Yale University Press, ISBN 0-300-06932-4
  • Stevens, James H. S. (2002), Worship In The Spirit - Charismatic Worship In The Church of England, Paternoster, ISBN 1-84227-103-2.
  • Ward, Pete (2005), Selling Worship - How What We Sing Has Changed The Church, Paternoster, ISBN 1-84227-270-5
  • Warner, Rob (2007), Reinventing English Evangelicalism 1966-2001 - A Theological And Sociological Study, Paternoster, ISBN 978-1-84227-570-2. Chapter 2 includes a study of changing worship styles.
  • Lupia, John N., (1995) "Censer," The New Grove's Dictionary of Art (Macmillan Publishers, London)
Acolyte

An acolyte is an assistant or follower assisting the celebrant in a religious service or procession. In many Christian denominations, an acolyte is anyone who performs ceremonial duties such as lighting altar candles.

In others, the term is used for one who has been inducted into a particular liturgical ministry, even when not performing those duties.

Calvin Theological Seminary

Calvin Theological Seminary is a seminary affiliated with the Christian Reformed Church in North America, located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States, and closely tied to Calvin College, though each institution has its own board. Rev. Julius Medenblik is currently president of the school.

Cantor (Christianity)

In Catholicism, the cantor, sometimes called the precentor or the protopsaltes (Greek: πρωτοψάλτης, lit. 'first singer'; from Greek: ψάλτης, translit. psaltes, lit. 'singer') is the chief singer, and usually instructor, employed at a church, a cathedral or monastery with responsibilities for the ecclesiastical choir and the preparation of liturgy.

The cantor's duties and qualifications have varied considerably according to time, place, and rite, and often its prestige was so high that it came close to the highest offices in the ecclesiastical hierarchy, for instance monastic cantors promoted to the office of an abbot or abbess. Sometimes the office was connected with administrative, militaric, and governmental duties (the "Maestro di Capella" at San Marco di Venezia), even with those of a schoolteacher, as in case of the Thomaskantor in charge of the Thomasschule zu Leipzig, educating a boys' choir that served four churches.

Generally a cantor must be competent to choose and to conduct the vocals for the choir, to start any chant on demand, and to be able to identify and correct the missteps of singers placed under him. He may be held accountable for the immediate rendering of the music, showing the course of the melody by movements of the hand(s) (cheironomia), similar to a conductor.

Church etiquette

Church etiquette varies greatly between the different nations and cultural groups among whom the Christian Church is found. In Western Culture, in common with most social situations, church etiquette has generally changed greatly over the last half-century or more, becoming much less formal. Church etiquette might be seen to mirror other social changes, with the use of given names for leaders, informal dress.

Church usher

In many denominations of the Christian Church, a Church usher (not to be confused with church greeter) is responsible for seating guests and maintaining the order and security of services. The role of a church usher is typically a volunteer position, and in the past was often considered one of honor, particularly if a church committee selects an usher by nomination.

Consecration

Consecration is the solemn dedication to a special purpose or service, usually religious. The word consecration literally means "association with the sacred". Persons, places, or things can be consecrated, and the term is used in various ways by different groups. The origin of the word comes from the Latin word consecrat, which means dedicated, devoted, and sacred. A synonym for to consecrate is to sanctify; a distinct antonym is to desecrate.

Contemporary worship

Contemporary worship is a form of Christian worship that emerged within Western evangelical Protestantism in the 20th century. It was originally confined to the charismatic movement, but is now found to varying extents in a wide range of churches, including many which do not subscribe to a charismatic theology. Contemporary worship is generally characterised by the use of contemporary worship music in an informal setting. Congregational singing typically comprises a greater proportion of the service than in conventional forms of worship. Where contemporary worship is practiced in churches with a liturgical tradition, elements of the liturgy are frequently kept to a minimum. The terms historic worship, traditional worship or liturgical worship are sometimes used to describe conventional worship forms and distinguish them from contemporary worship.

Contemporary worship music

Contemporary worship music (CWM), also known as praise and worship music, is a defined genre of Christian music used in contemporary worship. It has developed over the past sixty years and is stylistically similar to pop music. The songs are frequently referred to as "praise songs" or "worship songs" and are typically led by a "worship band" or "praise team", with either a guitarist or pianist leading. It has become a common genre of music sung in many churches, particularly in charismatic or non-denominational Protestant churches with some Roman Catholic congregations incorporating it into their mass as well.

Deconsecration

Deconsecration is the act of removing a religious blessing from something that had been previously consecrated by a minister or priest of that religion. The practice is usually performed on churches to be rendered to non-religious (secular) use or demolished.

Hosanna

Hosanna () is a liturgical word in Judaism and Christianity. In Judaism, it is always used in its original Hebrew form, הושענא Hoshana.

KTLW

KTLW (91.9 FM, "Air1") is an affiliate of the Educational Media Foundation's nationally syndicated Air1 Christian worship music radio network serving parts of the greater Los Angeles area. The station's primary signal broadcasts to the Antelope Valley on 88.9 MHz FM with station facilities based in Lancaster, California. The station also is heard on several translator signals.

KXAI

KXAI (103.7 FM) was a radio station broadcasting a Christian Worship format through the nationally programmed Air 1 network. The station was licensed to Refugio, Texas, United States, and serves the Corpus Christi area. KXAI was owned by the Educational Media Foundation.

KYDA

KYDA (101.7 FM) is a radio station based in the Fort Worth, Texas, and is the local outlet of EMF's Air 1 radio, airing a Christian Worship format. The station is licensed to Azle, Texas, with a transmitter site located north of Decatur, Texas. It is currently owned by Educational Media Foundation after a purchase from Liberman Broadcasting in early November 2012. Air1 is a Christian Worship music radio network in the United States.

Last rites

The last rites, in Roman Catholicism, are the last prayers and ministrations given to an individual of the faith, when possible, shortly before death. The last rites go by various names. They may be administered to those awaiting execution, mortally injured, or terminally ill.

List of Christian worship music artists

This is a list of Christian worship music artists or bands. This list includes notable artists or bands that have recorded or been known to perform contemporary worship music at some point in their careers. This includes worship leaders, Christian songwriters, and contemporary Christian music artists. It is not a list of contemporary Christian music artists alone.

Bands are listed by the first letter in their name, excluding the words "a", "an", or "the", and individuals are listed by family name.

Liturgy

Liturgy is the customary public worship performed by a religious group. As a religious phenomenon, liturgy represents a communal response to and participation in the sacred through activity reflecting praise, thanksgiving, supplication or repentance. It forms a basis for establishing a relationship with a divine agency, as well as with other participants in the liturgy.

Technically speaking, liturgy forms a subset of ritual. The word liturgy, sometimes equated in English as "service", refers to a formal ritual, which may or may not be elaborate, enacted by those who understand themselves to be participating in an action with the divine; examples include the Eastern Orthodox Divine Liturgy (Greek: Θεία Λειτουργία), and the Catholic Mass. Not every religious ritual is a liturgy; a proper liturgy is a service to God and God's service to the performers of it, a mutual ministry (service) and a duty incumbent on the worshippers.

A daily activity such as the Muslim salah and Jewish synagogue services would be ritual but not liturgy.

WARV-FM

WARV-FM (90.1 FM) is a Christian Worship formatted broadcast radio station licensed to Colonial Heights, Virginia, serving the Petersburg, Virginia area. WARV-FM is owned and operated by Educational Media Foundation, and relays EMF's Air1 Christian Worship music network.

Wake (ceremony)

A wake is a social gathering associated with death, usually held before a funeral. Traditionally, a wake takes place in the house of the deceased with the body present; however, modern wakes are often performed at a funeral home or another convenient location. A wake is also sometimes held in place of a funeral as a social celebration of the person's life. In the United States and Canada it is synonymous with a viewing. It is often a social rite that highlights the idea that the loss is one of a social group and affects that group as a whole.The term originally referred to a late-night prayer vigil but is now mostly used for the social interactions accompanying a funeral. While the modern usage of the verb wake is "become or stay alert", a wake for the dead harks back to the vigil, "watch" or "guard" of earlier times. It is a misconception that people at a wake are waiting in case the deceased should "wake up".

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