Bezalel's Compass

July 20, 2013

Liturgy, Architecture and Theology

“Liturgy is a splendid NT word that carries a wealth of meaning, all of which is bound up with the idea of service to God. It is applied to the priests, the offerings, the vessels of the temple used in the service of God (Luke 1:23, Heb. 9:21),  the “sacrificial service” (Phil 2:17), and the service of officers of the Church. That this evensongword liturgy should come to be used of worship indicates the importance with which worship was rightly held as service! But the service of worship must be governed not by tradition, let alone by aesthetics, but by theology. Thus Conrad H. Massa has well said that for the Reformers “the liturgy of the Church was the working out of its theology in the activity of corporate worship.” Thus, there is a propriety in speaking, as does Hammond, of “liturgy and architecture,” and meaning very much the same as “theology and architecture.” Architecture, however, must be liturgy (i.e., service to God) in working out the theology of a church [building] in its physical structure. Just as liturgy is theology in action, so architecture is theology in material structure. Thus liturgy seems a word more appropriate to describe the role of architecture, rather than its underlying basis. Both architecture and liturgy must be determined by theology”. -Bruggink and Droppers, Christ and Architecture

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