Lord's Day Liturgy

Louder Than the Law

Liturgy is a way we learn through what we see not just through what is said. There doesn’t need to be competition or conflict between what is declared and what is done, though our consistent behavior is harder to ignore than our repeated words.

A civil authority is called a liturgos in Romans 13:6, a “minister” who performs public service. He teaches by what he does, or doesn’t, more than by what is on the books. So Solomon said, “Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil” (Ecclesiastes 8:11 ESV). The failure of the executive branch was louder than the verdict from the judicial branch (so to speak), and the public got the point. The liturgy was louder than the law.

Among the saints there are ministers (Paul used liturgos of himself in Romans 15:16 as a “minister of Jesus Christ”), we have religious services, and these services follow a liturgy. There is always a liturgy, a pattern and form, whether or not we’re conscious of it or consistent in it.

And if I were to put a spin on Solomon’s observation, I might say, “Because the Table of the Lord is not celebrated joyfully, the hearts of the children of God are left discouraged and anxious.” It doesn’t matter what merry language we use if our actual practice is to eat, drink, and be mournful. May the joy of the Lord be your strength, and may you truly, and loudly, rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous, having been justified by the blood of Christ.