Thursday, January 25, 2007

Liturgy -- The Protocol of Worship

All important events have protocol.

In elementary school when it was our class' turn to put the American flag up on the playground we had to learn the proper protocol. The flag must never touch the ground. It must be folded tightly with the blue field on the outside. There must be no laughing and joking around. There must be an attitude of respect for the flag.

When I graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary we had to have our special robes and hats on. The tassel had to be placed just so. Our hoods had to hang with the proper side out. We had to line up behind the faculty and walk in slowly and reverently.

Three weeks ago I presided at a wedding. The ceremony was worked out in detail. We marched in at the proper cue. We all had proper attire on. The ceremony was scripted and each played their part well. If I would have suggested that we all let our hair down and ignore the ceremony the bride would probably have killed me!

There is no more important event than the public worship of the church. Worship is an audience of the King of kings. When one appears before royalty, one always follows protocol.

The protocol of worship is the liturgy. It is a script for our audience with the King of kings. The reason we script our audience with the King is not because of some aesthete attachment to liturgical niceties. The reason we script our audience with the King -- the reason we follow a protocol -- is because of how important the one we are appearing before is.

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