I once described my home congregation here in Houston, Texas as “tilted toward the liturgical,” and a reader asked what that meant.
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I really wasn’t trying to be fancy. Liturgical, in this context, just means using words that have been thought through and written out in advance, rather than made up on the spur of the moment. Now a generation removed from the hang-loose 60’s and spontaneous weddings in cow pastures, most preachers and couples choose a liturgical wedding service, for example (which usually comes, whether folks know it or not, from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, an excellent source for much other rich material as well).
All l meant by the phrase was that we plan the worship services in advance with much thought and prayer. The service often includes responsive readings from the Bible or from some eloquent but uninspired Christian author. We sometimes use a printed Communion meditation and prayers slightly edited from the Book of Common Prayer. And we have, from time to time, other formal or set or written services, such as for dedication of new babies, ordination of special servants, anointing with oil and prayer for healing and at annual Christmas and Easter services.
God welcomes our adoration in any style, I am confident, just as we parents appreciate with equal intensity one child’s gold-embossed Hallmark birthday card and another child’s hand-lettered construction paper illustrated with a personal crayon drawing. We are talking personal relationships here. What really matters, in those terms, are depth of feeling and sincerity of heart — with God, no doubt, as also with us (John 4:23-24).