Father Vernon Staley, an Anglican priest, wrote, “What we do and are greatly depends on what we believe.” How the Anglican Church worships is of primary importance because worship is the best way it expresses its beliefs. Carried further, “We become like that which we worship.”
The Church, particularly through her worship, has for two thousand years safe-guarded the mysterium tremendum – the tremendous mystery or awesome strangeness of God. With rich ceremony and symbolism, the mysterious rites and profound ritual, the Church has had a worship commensurate not only with the dignity of God but commensurate with His awe-inspiring mystery as well. At every Eucharist the Church gathers to do something unnatural and uncommon; we as human beings act differently and say things differently and do things differently. All of this goes to remind us that we are approaching a Being Who is different from us – God is not common or “natural” – He is God and we are His humble creatures. The worship of the Anglican Church goes to remind us of this important fact and keeps us always in a posture of awe and wonder, of holy fear and reverence.
As things are going, however, there is an emerging trend within Christian churches to try to make God completely “graspable” – to reduce Him to something common and ordinary. For example, in many churches today all you will hear preached about is “gentle Jesus… our common brother”; you rarely will hear anything of the awesome Trinity. As a consequence, many Christians are becoming less Trinitarian, and more Unitarian.
A lot of churches have also greatly watered-down their services due to this incomplete theology about God – you go to many masses or services of today and you feel you’re at a sporting event with cheers and hoorahs rather than a mystical approach by finite Man into the things eternal and super-natural.
One theologian speculates that the reason the contemporary churches are doing this is because they are trying to reject anything greater than themselves. Man feels uncomfortable with mysterious things and so instead of showing proper reverence and awe, he is always tempted to eliminate the mystery altogether; but if we abandon the dreadful mystery of God, then we are abandoning God Himself.
The seasons of the Church Year give us the means to daily rededicate ourselves to worshiping the God of Scripture, the Triune God, the majestic creator, redeemer and Sanctifier of the world.