Tuesday, August 04, 2009


Something I have been pondering on lately is a learning I had just a few days ago. It revolves around the term liturgy. We talk about having a "Liturgical Service" at St. Andrew UMC as our second service. The first is "A Service of Praise and Worship in a contemporary style". It was after I discovered these things that I heard the definition of liturgy. I had assumed it meant the words we follow in worship. And this person had dug a little deeper.

Liturgy (leitourgia) is a Greek composite word meaning originally a public duty, a service to the state undertaken by a citizen. Its elements are leitos (from leos = laos, people) meaning public, and ergo (obsolete in the present stem, used in future erxo, etc.), to do. From this we have leitourgos, "a man who performs a public duty", "a public servant", often used as equivalent to the Roman lictor; then leitourgeo, "to do such a duty", leitourgema, its performance, andleitourgia, the public duty itself.

We have then morphed it into the more common definition as found at Dictionary.die.net

Liturgy \Lit"ur*gy\, n.; pl. Liturgies. [F. liturgie, LL. liturgia, Gr. ? a public service, the public service of God, public worship; (assumed) ?, ?, belonging to the people, public (fr. ?, ?, the people) + the root of ? work. See Lay, a., and Work.] An established formula for public worship, or the entire ritual for public worship in a church which uses prescribed forms; a formulary for public prayer or devotion. In the Roman Catholic Church it includes all forms and services in any language, in any part of the world, for the celebration of Mass.
So what would it mean for the worship of the church to be returned to the people, as a public service to God?

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