And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: do this in remembrance of Me.
Okay, so far in my self-study and practice of Orthodox Christianity, I can see the logic and benefits. Take the prayer life; using the prayers written in the Orthodox Study Bible and other sources has reignited a sense of my need to pursue God with discipline and diligence. I was trying to do that on my own with some measure or another of success. But, following these prayers that have been handed down from the church fathers has been an extra push for me. Trying to observe the Hours (I am not too sharp at midnight, but I am trying) reminds me of my need for the Holy Spirit through out my day. Fasting is the best medicine for the body and it does the budget a world of good too moving from a meat to plant-based diet. I even see the wisdom of iconography. I refuse to rush into converting as there is no Orthodox Church within a 30 mile radius of my home and I have much to do as a Baptist pastor to seek lost souls, strengthen the saints, and serve my community.
I also confess that divine liturgy intimidates me. Seriously, all of that chanting, incense, and prayers is far more than we have in our order of service. And I don’t speak anything other than American English. Even the Jordanville Prayer Book has words in it that I didn’t learn in seminary. Shouldn’t worship be simple and easy enough to understand so that a messenger can read it (Habakkuk 2:2)? Did Jesus have a liturgy?
He probably did. Think about it, the Last Supper took place not on any old day of the year. It was on the Day of Unleavened Bread. Certain scriptures had to be read and prayers prayed by Jews in order to properly celebrate what God did for his people. More than likely, Jesus followed the prescribed order of worship that was handed down to him since the days of Moses. But, then Our Lord did something else. He redefined that meal with his own body and blood. That we are to come together with the bread and wine in remembrance of him. The Apostle Paul handed the tradition down to the Corinthian believers and other church fathers did the same as well. Liturgy can be described as the public spiritual connection to the God of Israel, connected to God the Son and our Savior Jesus Christ, and all who believe in him.
Liturgy is not a spectator sport. Reading books and watching You Tube videos are not enough. I will have to attend before I can make any decisions of if I think this is right for me. I will have a few opportunities to get away from my church and attend the Sunday morning worship in a couple of Orthodox churches between now and mid-September. I will also attend Homecoming Services among my fellow Baptist. May God reveal the truth to me.