Bobby Gilles on the benefits of liturgy in contemporary worship:
Why would, say, a Southern Baptist church follow the Christian Year – especially a Baptist Church that has more 20-something members than members in any other age group? Isn’t the liturgical calendar just for Catholics? Or isn’t it an out-of-date, awkward intrusion on our modern sensibilities?
Our young, Baptist church doesn’t think so, which is why we are always moving in the rhythms of this calendar, from Advent to Pentecost. More and more Christians are rediscovering this historic practice, and growing in the truth and knowledge of Christ. As author Lauren Winner has said:
“I want the Christian story to shape everything I do, even how I reckon time. I want it to be truer and more essential to me than school’s calendar, or Hallmark’s calendar, or the calendar set by the IRS. I want the rhythms of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost to be more basic to my life than the days on which my quarterly estimated taxes are due.”
We shouldn’t treat the church calendar as if it were commanded in Scripture, like baptism and communion are commanded. It is simply a practice of historic Christianity that continuously stirs reflection, anticipation and action in the hearts of God’s people for the whole, big story of the gospel.