Last modified on 8 February 2018, at 20:45

Liturgy

Liturgy is a term that refers to the prescribed order of worship used in many religions and churches.

Certain Christian denominations follow a standard form of worship for their services which normally includes hymn singing, prayers, scripture readings, responsive readings, a creedal statement, the sermon, a confession of sins, Holy Communion, and a formal dismissal. The liturgy is sometimes set forth according to a book used by the congregation at worship. Examples are the Book of Common Prayer in the Anglican and Episcopal churches, missals used by the Catholic churches, and Lutheran Service Books. In some of them the liturgical service is styled the Mass, a word that invokes the concept of the service as a ceremonial offering of a sacrifice to God.

Denominations in which a version of the traditional liturgy is used are classified as "liturgical"; included among them are the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, "High Church" Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, Reformed and Presbyterian denominations.

By contrast, denominations which do not use the historic order of worship outlined above are called "non-liturgical"; included among them are the "Low Church" Anglican, Baptist and Pentecostal denominations, and the majority of non-denominational churches. Although they may (and often do) have their own set practices in terms of what takes place during a worship service, the lack of a formal liturgy is designed to allow more spontaneity during the service; this is especially true within Pentecostal churches who consider themselves "Spirit filled" and who do not wish to hinder the Holy Spirit during worship.

See also