Exhortation: Liturgy as Language

Liturgy is a language. The more we master that language the more common it is for us. Our families begin to speak that language at home and in other places. But like any language, liturgy demands practice. I have often told visiting families who are new to any type of liturgy to come back once more, and work with us again as we offer praise to the Triune God. Our evangelical culture is quite lazy when it comes to practicing liturgy. We do not have that option, because as a church we want to learn more of God’s psalms, we are constantly going through cycles of church seasons, and all these things require us to be in tune with the language of the church.

One of the most especially valuable refrain in the Church’s historic liturgy “that increases our sense of the community and its mutual ministry is the pastor’s blessing, “The Lord be with you,” and the congregational response, “And also with you.” This is extremely powerful language.

Marva Dawn’s book: Reaching Out without Dumbing Down, offers an interesting story about a friend’s visit to a shopping mall. Dawn writes:

While her friend waited at a concession shop, an older woman in line in front of her dropped a coin purse, and the money rolled all over the mall corridor. Seeing that the woman was unable to bend down and retrieve the coins, the friend gathered them and brought them to the flustered lady. She looked at the young woman with intense gratitude and from her lips burst the phrase, “The Lord be with you.” When her helper responded, “And also with you,” they both broke into grins and hugged each other—a worshipful moment of community, made possible in a shopping mall by mutual knowledge of liturgy.”[1]

Liturgy unites, and the more we know this language the more fruitful it becomes in corporate worship, and in our communities.

Prayer: O God of grace and truth, teach us your will and cause us to love it for you have made us for yourself and our souls are restless until they find their rest in You. Amen.


[1] Marva Dawn, Reaching out without Dumbing Down, 253.

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About Uri Brito

I am the Pastor of Providence Church (CREC) in Pensacola, Fl.
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