Why I Love the Church – Rooted in History

October 21, 2013

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I’m reading an interesting book entitled, Present Shock – When Everything Happens Now, by Douglas Rushkoff.  Essentially, the author says that our digital age has accelerated life to the point that almost everything is real time.  The internet, text messages, smart phones and the like can connect us to everything and everybody 24/7.  The book outlines the implications of this for culture and individuals.

One of the reasons I love church is that it provides a time of respite from all of that.  In church, I can focus my mind, spirit and heart on things eternal and the God who was and is and is to come. 

Another dimension of this respite is the way in which, through worship, we stand in solidarity with those who came before.  For 2000 years, people have worshipped the same God in the same way.  For some, that might not be meaningful.  But for me, it is huge. 

Below is an excerpt from a work called the Apostolic Tradition.  It is part of a service of consecration for a bishop.  It dates from about 215 AD.  Our Anglican Eucharist is remarkably similar.

Priest:  The Lord be with you!

All:  And with your spirit!

Priest:  Let us lift up our hearts.

All: They are turned to the Lord!

Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord.

All: It is right and just!

 

Priest: We give you thanks, O God,

through your beloved Child Jesus Christ,

whom you have sent us in the last days as Savior,

Redeemer and Messenger of your will.

He is your Word, inseparable from you,

through whom you have created everything

and in whom you find your delight.

You sent him from heaven into the womb of a Virgin.

He was conceived and became flesh,

he manifested himself as your Son,

born of the Spirit and the Virgin.

He did your will, and,

to win for you a holy people,

he stretched out his hands in suffering to rescue from

suffering those who believe in you.

When he was about to surrender himself to voluntary suffering

in order to destroy death,

to break the devil’s chains,

to tread hell underfoot,

to pour out his light upon the just,

to establish the covenant, and manifest resurrection,

]he took bread, gave you thanks and said:

“Take, eat, this is my body which is broken for you.”

In like manner for the cup, he said:

“This is my blood which is poured out for you. When you do this, do it in memory of me.”

Remembering, therefore, your death and your resurrection, we offer you the

bread and the wine, we thank you for having judged us worthy to stand before

you and serve you.

And we pray you to send your Holy Spirit on the offering of your holy Church,

to bring together in unity all those who receive it.

May they be filled with the Holy Spirit

who strengthens their faith in the truth.

May we be able thus to praise and glorify you through your Child, Jesus Christ.

Through him glory to you and honor, to the Father and the Son, with the Holy

Spirit, in your holy Church, now and forever! Amen.

Every week as we celebrate the Eucharist, we use similar words.  Which means that a Christian in third century Europe or sixteenth century South America or twentieth century Africa or Katy, Texas in 2013 have all shared a similar experience of worship.  In a sense, we are all united despite differences in time and place.

Besides being tethered to other Christians through the ages, having an ancient liturgy provides a solid foundation for our worship.  It inoculates us from the temptation of seeking to be trendy or hip.  And it serves to keep us rooted in apostolic faith

In an age where it feels like everything operates in real time and when we seem to serve the devices that are supposed to serve us, it is good to have a respite.  It is good to be connected to a historical faith and to experience historical worship.

To my way of thinking, it a foretaste of heaven.  And I love that.

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2 Comments on “Why I Love the Church – Rooted in History”

  1. Harold Entz Says:

    Bob, That was so tough! Loved the message. It was almost like it was real time! The Drummah Date: Thu, 26 Sep 2013 14:08:45 +0000 To: lightning_fc@hotmail.com

    Reply

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