The Significance of Icons in Orthodox Worship

The Eastern church has long valued the significance of icons as sources of revelation in worship. With insights from the Eastern Orthodox churches, the theological rationale and traditional practice of iconography are described here in terms of its role in worship.

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Evaluating the Place of the Altar or Table

This article argues that the altar should serve as a focal point in the worship space. It discusses both the theological rationale for this idea and how it can be achieved through spatial arrangements and seating patterns. It is presented from a Roman Catholic perspective but introduces ideas that can inform discussions in many worshiping traditions.

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An Environment of Worship that Fosters Devout Attendance and Active Participation

This article argues for an environment of worship that encourages the full participation of the people and complements the symbolic meaning of the actions of worship, particularly the sacraments. It is written in the context of Roman Catholic worship, but reflects the concerns of nearly all highly liturgical traditions. Many of these have been emphasized throughout the Christian church, given the recent phenomenon of liturgical convergence.

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Symbols as the Language of Art and Liturgy

Symbols are a primary means by which the truth of the gospel is communicated. They communicate to us through all our senses and on many levels, to our thinking and our feeling, our memory, and our imagination. Further, symbolic language serves to unite Christians, giving them a common reference point and experience that transcends divisions within the Christian community.

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The Nonverbal Languages of Prayer

When we think of prayer, we probably think of words that we speak, sing, or read. Yet human communication happens as much through nonverbal means as through verbal ones. This article probes the nature and influence of nonverbal communication and argues that it should be intentionally employed in worship.

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The Church as Community

In the exodus event, God created a people and brought them into a covenant relationship. The covenant specified that Israelite worshipers display loyalty and faithfulness both to Yahweh, the King of the covenant, and to their fellow Israelites covenanted to that same King. In a corresponding way, God has created a people through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; these people are bound together with him and with one another in a new covenant community. Jesus’ commandment for this community, or church, is that they love him with their entire being, and their covenant brothers as themselves. It is out of this relationship with God and one’s fellow believers that worship arises. Biblical worship is intended as a corporate expression of the covenant relationship.

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A Reformation Model of Worship: John Calvin, The Form of Church Prayers, Strassburg Liturgy (1545)

Although there is considerable diversity within the Reformed community, it is fair to say that the ideas of John Calvin strongly influenced Reformed worship practice. Calvin’s Strassburg Liturgy is presented below.

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African-American Worship in the Post-Reformation Period

Churches in the African-American community share a distinct worship culture that is the result of the integration of Christian worship forms with a worldview shaped by a traditional African ontology (understanding of being). In addition to the African heritage and religious perspective, the experience of blacks in American slavery has also helped to shape African-American worship patterns.

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