Throughout history Christianity worship has been much more liturgical and characterized by prayers of various themes and hymns that are closely related to the Scripture. This form of sacramental and ceremonial worship is still practised by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Anglican churches, as well as some Protestant denominations such as Lutheranism and Methodism. There is also a festal cycle throughout the church year that is full of celebrations of feasts and holy days pertaining to the events in the life of Jesus and the lives of saints.
Christianity worship can also be seen as someone’s individual path for his/her spirituality or a way of joining with others as a spiritual community. Many different denominations of Christianity believe in worshipping as a way of praising their creator, God and a way of paying respects. Worshipping is a significant part in all denominations of Christianity and includes many different aspects, including prayers of hope and prayers of sorrow; it occurs in sacred places and spaces and are normally conducted by spiritual guides such as a priest. There are a wide variety of worship styles.
The “Divine Liturgy” is the centre of Orthodox spirituality. Worship is usually vernacular, though Greek is also used. The Pentecostal churches are very spontaneity in there way of worshipping. The Catholic Church is centred around mass, which follows the Vatican II council as it place a great emphasis on worship in mass. There are many different features used in different Christian Denominations. The Eucharist, Body of Christ or Ecclesia is an act of commemoration of the Pashcal mystery. There is also the welcoming rite, which is when there are Scripture readings.
This is a time of reading and mediation on the Lords word. There is also the Psalm reading which are songs of joy and could be very uplifting. Another feature is the preaching or the homily which is a reflection on the meaning of God’s word for the lives of adherent meaning us as an individual in the context of today. The Offertory (presenting of gifts) where the bread and wine is placed on the alter and the improvised prayers or praise and thanksgiving. The most important that has great significance is the communion rite; the body of Christ is broken and shared among participants.
Later on in some Christian denominations the Penitential rite, prayers of the faithful, creed, formal Eucharist prayer and the dismissal rite were added as features in the Saturday/Sunday worship. There are also important rituals that are carried out also known as sacramental actions; the laying on of hands pouring water, the sign of peace and the kneeling, standing and sitting. The Mystic Supper or Divine Liturgy is what makes present Christ’s sacrifice, which leads to the forgiveness of sins through the Eucharist.
The Eucharist is also an encounter with the Risen Christ. During the Eucharist the priest calls upon the Holy Spirit upon the bread and the wine. The gifts are then changed into the actual body and blood of Christ. This is called the Divine Mystery. The Eucharist can only be received by members and both bread and wine is given to those present. The Orthodox liturgies are distinctive because of their length, use of icons and incense, their liturgy is sung and sometimes there alter is hidden within the sanctuary enclosed by a curtain or an iconostasis.
In the Protestant Church the significance of the Eucharist is that just like Baptism is a symbol of grace, the sacrificial nature of the Eucharist is rejected. The bread and the wine are symbols and do not change in substance. Although there is a wide variety of views held within the Protestant Church. Some Anglicans accept the Catholic way, others believe in consubstantiation where the bread and wine represent Christs Body and Blood. The Eucharist is offered to all Christians who feel able to take part.
The Catholic Church is very similar to the Orthodox Church in its view on the significance of the Eucharist – It makes present Christ’s sacrifice and sins are forgiven. It is known as the ‘Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. ” The priest calls upon the Holy Spirit during the mass. However the consecration becomes effective through the priest, who acts on behalf of Jesus Christ. The gifts are changed completely into Christ’s body and blood this is called “transubstantiation. ” This means that the outward appearance remains the same, but the substances changes.
The central beliefs that are shown in Saturday/Sunday worship and are symbolised, celebrated and made present include The Incarnation Paschal, Mystery Body of Christ, The revelation of God in scripture and the “new and everlasting covenant. ” It is also the elements of the Creed; Trinity, church and redemption. All are significant in Saturday/Sunday worship for the individual and the community. The significance of Saturday/Sunday worship to adherents is to encounter God through prayer, ritual, scripture community and communion. It is significant because it reinforces Christian identity and deepens initiation and ngagement with Christian community and provides comfort when a person faces a struggle in their life. It is also significant as it is an opportunity for reconciliation, to receive ethical and religious instructions and practical support when in need. The Pentecostal Church is different because there worship is much more individual and the way God is expressed in different gifts. This shows once again the significance Saturday/Sunday worship is to an individual. The Eucharist is a public action of worship. The Catholic and Orthodox Church believe that the whole church is visible and invisible worshipping together.
The Uniting Church celebrates communion service or the Lord’s Supper weekly or monthly as a community. Saturday/Sunday worship also assists the community to connect with key beliefs. It reminds the community that they are in God’s Creation and reminds us that we rest just as God did. Worship is also significant because it reminds us that there is a special time to engage with God and with family and friends and that this time should be a time of positive activity and engagement with others. Worship also allows the community to respond with veneration and adoration in the face of the recognised presence of God.
It is an opportunity to see and converse with God. It is a way to engage with the religious language, music, silence and express one’s deepest sorrow as a community. It also allows the community to work for peace and justice in the world as a community and practice the teachings of Jesus Christ together. This shows just how significant important aspects such as the Eucharist are to Saturday/Sunday worship. Saturday/Sunday worship can be individual and communal there are different key beliefs that vary from Christian denominations. There are many beliefs, rituals and sacraments that are significant in the worship of Saturday/Sunday.