2.1 Worship Manifests the Church

The Eastern Orthodox Church possesses a distinctive liturgical worship, which does not simply endeavor to engage the membership from time to time, but actually manifests the Church itself. True, it has a cycle of rites and ceremonies for every time of day and every day of the year. There are services for the sacraments, for the various needs and circumstances of each believer and the congregation as a whole, which is the Church, the Body of Christ. Yet, the ultimate purpose of the Church’s liturgical worship is, as Fr. Alexander Schmemann wrote, 

to express, form, or realize the Church -- to be the source of that grace which always makes the Church the Church, the people of God, the Body of Christ, “a chosen race and a royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9). In fact... [the Church] embodies in worship her participation in God’s Kingdom, gives us a glimpse of the mystery of the age to come, expresses her love to the Lord who dwells within her, and her communion with the Holy Spirit. In this sense worship is the purpose of the Church, but the purpose precisely of the Church, as the highest and fullest expression and fulfilment of her nature: of her unity and love; of her knowledge of and communion with God. (Introduction to Liturgical Theology, p. 29)

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