Understanding Orthodox Worship

Many who either do not understand or who despise the traditional/liturgical worship service of the Orthodox Church do so because, for one reason, they do not understand the very nature of worship. Christ says in Matthew 16 that nothing will prevail against the Church. This is how the Church worships: without being prevailed against by the non-Orthodox’ unbelief.

Many Evangelicals say that liturgical worship is “canned” and “dry.” Liturgical celebration is only canned and dry to those that do not involve themselves in it. The Orthodox Church worships regardless of who is and is not worshiping. It does not take a break, slow down or change its form because of one man or many men’s unbelief.

A problem with our society today is that many men have begun to fabricate their own worship service based on their lack of belief. They believe that the worship of the Church should spontaneously interact with where they are currently in their level of spirituality. There happens to be hundreds of thousands of these types of Christians in our society, today. They are completely unaware of the historical reality of the Church and how we are to worship, so they attend whichever church they feel comfortable at – usually the one that connects with their secular culture.

Most non-Christians and modern Christians are not comfortable worshiping  liturgically. The entire service seems canned to them! But it is not the service that is canned, it is the unbeliever that is canned. They are canned because they were taught not to grow and become one with the entirety of the kingdom of Christ. They are canned because someone has limited their capacity to know and give to God. A modern teacher has infiltrated their soul with doctrine and polemics that create a top-stop in their minds and hearts. 

The Orthodox Church worships regardless of how you worship; regardless of whether you worship or not! The Orthodox Church assumes a worship service for the Christian who desires to grow in Christ, to come into full communion with Him. Non-Orthodox and immature Christians should first learn about worship before they jump to conclusions about its nature. If they do jump to conclusions without being discipled they risk being lost to the spirit of contemporary “Christianity.” Contemporary Christianity’s worship is geared for the non-Christian (in the name of evangelism), therefore any non-Christian or new Christian will inherit the feeling of being whole within their service. They can indeed be filled, but in their very limited capacity. 

Orthodox worship is not what Protestants refer to as “discipleship,” or even, in many ways, “evangelism;” although both certainly do happen within the service. In discipleship the Church comes down to the new believer’s level, giving certain amounts of attention and information as the person grows: a one-on-one relationship. But worship does not involve the Church fragmenting DOWN to the catechumen’s spiritual level, it involves raising the Church UP to God. This is why the calling of the priest is so important! He is bringing us up to God, to worship and serve God – to give Him our hearts, hence the Anaphora within the Liturgy: “Priest: Lift up your hearts. People: We lift them up unto the Lord. Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. It is meet and right so to do.”

Comments

  1. Gregory Manning says:

    I believe it was John Henry Cardinal Newman who wrote that “the world and the Church cannot meet unless the world rises or the Church descends; and the world, forsooth, claims necessity and says it cannot rise and deems the church unreasonable when she will not descend instead.”

  2. Daniel Smith says:

    Actually the Church is itself the descent of Heaven in the Liturgy. It is a participation in the Eternal Heavenly
    liturgy. It is daily brought to earth and enfleshed in the actions of the priest and the deacons and the laity.

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