Visitors to Coram Deo’s worship gathering will immediately recognize the use of liturgy in our worship. We follow a definite pattern every week. We employ scripted confessions, creeds, prayers, and professions of faith to structure to our worship. The question is: why? This series of posts seeks to answer that question for those new to this type of worship and also for those called to lead it.
Reason #4: Liturgy is Missional
Anyone who has ever felt distant or “lost” at a Catholic funeral or an Anglican Eucharist celebration will likely question this point. Isn’t liturgy a profound obstacle to mission? Doesn’t it naturally exclude anyone who’s not an “insider” – who doesn’t already know the language and the expectations?
By no means! The problem is not in the liturgy itself, but in the way it’s conducted. Poor leadership can make even the richest liturgy feel stale, dry, detached, and inhospitable. But good, gospel-shaped leaders will use liturgy to extend a welcoming, hospitable arm to strangers and sojourners.
The word liturgy comes from a Greek term that means “a public service.” Liturgy is designed to make Christian worship public – that is, accessible to outsiders! When it is properly explained and warmly engaged, liturgy creates an accessible “flow” that beckons outsiders in. Like a table of contents or a map, it makes unfamiliar territory familiar.
In our city, liturgy is also good contextualization. Over fifty percent of Omaha residents grew up Lutheran or Catholic. Liturgy is what they know and expect. A liturgical worship service – but one infused with gospel warmth and joy – will seem both welcoming and challenging at the same time.