Divine Liturgy and the Great Thanksgiving

Divine Liturgy and the Great Thanksgiving

Some of the most profound words of the Divine Liturgy are rarely heard. Standing at the south corner of the altar, the deacon quietly utters to the presiding priest: “It is time for the Lord to act.” This phrase sets the tone for everything in our worship. We are not performing some sort of magical […]

Dressing for Eternity and the Purpose of Vestments

Dressing for Eternity

The sacrificial worship of the old covenant was distinguished by ceremony, beauty, ritual, and blood. And while our sacrifice is now both spiritual and bloodless, the elements of beauty, ceremony, and ritual remain. This should not surprise us, but the tendencies towards both dualism (a suspicion of all things “material”) and iconoclastic minimalism among many […]

Remaking the Temple of the Lord

Remaking the Temple of the Lord

While the temple of the first century was rejected by certain groups of Jews—such as those at Qumran—it was not because they had lost faith in sacrificial religion, but rather because they had lost the temple itself. Herod’s temple was no doubt wondrous in its externals, but the hierarchy was corrupt and the faith had […]

On Earth as in Heaven: The Origins of Orthodox Worship

On Earth as in Heaven: The Origins of Orthodox Worship

While it is true that Orthodox worship serves as a fulfillment of old covenant worship—being fulfilled in and through the risen Christ—the ultimate parallel or comparison that should be drawn is between the Orthodox worship on earth and that which exists in eternity (or, in “heaven”). It is easy to discern the type-fulfillment relationships between […]

Worship with Incense

Worship with Incense

Throughout the scriptures we see both the inward and outward aspects of worship offered to God as being in unity with one another. For example, scripture tells us to lift both our “hands” and our “hearts” to God (Lam. 3:41). The hands are outward, and the heart is inward. God is glorified by both, and he commands us to worship him […]

When You Assemble Together

When You Assemble Together

One of the most ancient foundations of the Orthodox-Catholic tradition is monasticism. Anthony the Great is famous for pioneering the monastic lifestyle in the the fourth and fifth century deserts of Egypt, while Benedict of Nursia brought these traditions to the west and other great fathers of the Church, such as John of Damascus (Lavra […]