Core Training 2012 (01): Worship and Liturgy
Core Training 2012: Worship
“Aaron then brought the offering (qorban, “near bringing”) that was for the people. He took the goat for the people’s sin offering (chattat - “hiding”) and slaughtered it and offered it for a sin offering (yechatte - “hiding/offering”) as he did with the first one. He brought (yaqrev, “near”) the burnt offering (olah, “ascension” Gr. holocaust) and offered it in the prescribed way. He also brought the grain offering (mincha, “gift”) took a handful of it and burned it on the altar in addition to the morning’s burnt offering (olah, “ascension”). He slaughtered the ox and the ram as the fellowship (root is shalom) offering (zevach, “offering/feasting”) for the people....Then Aaron lifted his hands toward the people and blessed them. (Lev 9:15-23 NIV) “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem . . .” (Heb. 12:22-24).
The Meaning of Worship - Our word, “worship” in old English was, “weorthscipe” or “worthship” - as in giving worth or respect to Something. The Bible’s term “worship” literally means “to bow down” or “to kiss the hand,” (Greek word proskyneo, Hebrew saha). One key term in the NT is leitourgia - literally “work of the people” (laos + ergon). It is used of the temple service and order of sacrifices (Heb. 10:11) in the tabernacle (Ex. 28:35) and the temple (2 Chr. 31:2). Our word, liturgy, is based on this and means, “an order of events observed.” All churches have a “liturgy,” an “order” of events. Scripture says we should plan a biblical liturgy/”order” (euschemenos, 1 Cor. 14:40).
The Model of Worship - The “man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one,” says Hebrews 9:24. The term for “copy” is the word “antitupos” (the concept of “type and antitype”). The environments of worship in the Bible “model” or copy the heavenly sanctuary wherein God the judge of all is seated. The “order” of sacrifices and rites helped the worshiper approach God. In our day, we have moved beyond the era of an actual “model” temple of metal, stone and wood. Now Jesus has entered the real sanctuary as a Man and we through Him. The NT describes what new covenant believers in their assembly as the “liturgy” (leitourgeo/latreia) of “near-bringing” in terms of the tabernacle/temple “service.” (Heb. 10:11/Rom. 9:4- Acts 13:2, Rom. 12:1). We are Called into His presence to Confess sin (Sin offering, 1 John 1:9) so that we Consecrate ourselves (Burnt offering, Rom. 12:1) by committing to be obedient to the Word of God read and preached; We bring Gifts of tithes and offerings (Tribute offering); and have Communion (Peace offering, 1 Cor. 5:7). Finally, we are dismissed with a blessing wherein we are named as God’s people to live out the liturgy. This pattern of actions we may summarize as: Call, Confession, Consecration, Communion, & Commission.
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more