Glory to God, Forever and Ever

Liturgy, the patterns of pubic worship in a church, is an interesting thing. For many Christians, especially evangelicals, the idea of a formalized mode of worship is an idea that is utterly foreign. Set prayer? Standing / sitting / kneeling in unison? Processions? Creeds? What are these things? Liturgy as a whole is just outside the scope of most Evangelicals who pride themselves on an individualism that surpasses all, seemingly contrary to the collective unity displayed in formalized liturgy. Lately, however, I have turned to a liturgical church, a church grounded in centuries of tradition, as a means of centering myself in the historical continuity of saints [1]. While I might do, at some point, a post about my opinions of liturgy itself, I wish to talk about one specific part of Liturgy that has struck me this week.

I’ve been attending an Anglican church (of Canada) this summer [2]. The ACoC uses the Book of Alternative Services to structure their contemporary services and at the end of each service the presiding minister says a blessing before the dismissal and the blessing used that I hear most often is the ending doxology taken from Ephesians 3.20-21.

Glory to God,
whose power, working in us,
can do infinitely more
than we can ask or imagine.
Glory to God from generation to generation,
in the Church and in Christ Jesus,
for ever and ever. Amen.

I’ve been contemplating this lately because it is, I think, a powerful reminder of the God that we worship. I so often struggle with trusting God and letting to peace of Christ rule in my heart. Yet, this prayer denies this. It says that God is working in me to change me, but not only that, because his power is working in me to bring me unto himself, I am able to bring petitions before him. Yet, no matter what I may ask, so long as it is in the will of God, he can and will answer accordingly. No matter how I may suffer in this life, no matter how much I may doubt, nothing will change the power of a self-sufficient God. His power is infinite, and I will never exhaust what God can do. All my failings, all my doubts, all my inability is insufficient to impede the changing and transformative power of God in my life as I am changed from one form of glory to another by my union with Christ Jesus in his mystical body.

This verse shows the purpose of God is saving us by his son and the purpose of the Church in this life, all for the glory of God. And glory be to him as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end. Eternity to eternity, God will forever be glorified and lifted high.

This prayer is a powerful reminder of the Christian life, a life founded on the transformative work of the Power of God, and it reminds us of our place in this world, a creation wrought by God for his own glory. We should always be reminded of this, no matter how we may fail or fall and no matter how much we may doubt, it is God’s power that can change the church, this universe, and us more than we can ask or imagine. Think about this doxology for it should strengthen us daily knowing that it is his power that works in us, and not ours alone.

Notes

[1] I’m apparently part of a growing trend. I think that there is a great desire to be rooted in the past, just look at the resurgence of reformed thought in Christian communities today.
[2] The Anglican Church of Canada is quite liberal in its outlook, though not quite as much as the Episcopal Church in America, a lot is still left to the parish priest and I have found that the orthodoxy of the constituent parishes varies quite wildly. The current church I’m going to is of the low church/evangelical branch of the ACoC which I find has a reasonable balance of orthodoxy in its liturgy of the word, though they take many liberalities in their interpretation of their use of the Book of Alternative Services losing some of the fullness of liturgical expression compared to Anglican churches with a slightly higher interpretation of liturgy.

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3 thoughts on “Glory to God, Forever and Ever

  1. Take a look at he Orthodox Church. Their theology is divine. Don’t be put off by the “smells and bells”; the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom dates to the fifth century or so. Just be careful that you don’t confuse “Liturgy” with “Praxis”. I think the Orthodox are guilty of that, making them inwardly focused and insular. But their theology is powerful, compelling, and empowering. It is the natural theology for a Pentecostal, like me.

    Christos Aneste (“Χριστός ἀνέστη!”) – “Christ is Risen!”

    Dallas

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  2. I too, feel that there needs to be a shift back to many of the “lost” traditions of Christianity. I also think that we should not just follow traditions blindly, but we should know why we do what we do. Like the common practice of praying before a meal… why? I am not saying that it is not important but if we do it just because it is tradition than we lose the value of the practice,

    Chad

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