Yesterday, I posted some brief thoughts on liturgy and how it shapes us. Those words were primarily taken from a document I wrote up a few years ago to train those leading liturgy. Today, I wanted to post another little section from that piece, going through an extremely brief history of liturgy in the Bible and how it developed in the early church.
Liturgy in the Bible
We see fairly early on that God intends for there to be a definite pattern or shape to worship among his people. He spends chapter after chapter talking about both the space and structure of the worship of the Israelite people in both the Tabernacle and the Temple. This continues in the Jewish community even today.
But at this point in the story of the Bible, the fullness of all that God will do to bring about our worship is incomplete, and so this worship is merely anticipatory of something that is to come. But throughout the Bible we get glimpses of a definite pattern to how God relates to his people–to how this story will eventually look in it fullness. This story–this pattern–is what forms the structure of our liturgy even today.
Throughout the Bible, repetition of form and phrases is used to shape the people of God. In the Psalms, the same phrases are used over and over again in the music. In the Old Testament, verses from other parts of it are meditated upon and repeated for worship.