As this blog is about “Scripture, Liturgy, and Anything Else,” it helps to make a few connections.
In Acts 2.42, we hear that the early Jewish believers in the Lord “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
Teaching, table fellowship, and prayers. In other words, liturgy. Although it is not called that by Luke, but that is what liturgy is — the apostles’ teaching in the context of table fellowship and prayers.
All Orthodox liturgies (outside of Lent), whether they be of Saint Basil the Great, Saint John Chrysostom, Saint James, etc, have these common aspects to them.
And while the current Liturgies celebrated in the Orthodox Church have had their share of developments throughout the centuries, they have maintained these essential characteristics across vast geographical regions. By accident or inertia? No, because Scripture demands this to be the case.
The final aspect is something we should not overlook — Luke tells us the early believers devoted themselves to these. Devotion to the teaching and fellowship is a sign of the Spirit. We talk a lot today about parish renewal, Is devotion to the apostles’s teaching and fellowship the missing link in parish life? Perhaps this is something for us all to consider!
In the post Arc of the Covenant, the point was made that Jesus’ arc is actually part of the larger arc of Scripture. His arc, if you will, is to carry the word of God to wherever God leads Him. The decision to crucify Jesus was an attempt by the religious authorities and the state power to bury into oblivion the Good News of the Scriptures. In the absence of Jesus, the word of God could continue to be manipulated by religious and non-religious powers for their own purposes, often times against the weak and the needy.
Hence, the Gospel of Luke has stories and parables of people, like the wounded man saved by the Samaritan, or Lazarus at the gate of the rich man’s house, or the prodigal welcomed back, who could have been erased from memory by having been forgotten and buried by the world. But no, they come to be remembered instead!
And so, if the death of Christ was supposed to lead to the loss of the “message of God,” then what does the resurrection of Jesus from the dead mean but that this word is a word of life that can never be buried into oblivion?
Not only can this word never be buried and forgotten — Jesus’ “interpretation” of the word of God is the only valid and correct one (see https://literaryliturgist.wordpress.com/2021/03/12/hold-it-there/)! So, against the tendency of burying the Old Testament as many like to do — don’t do that! Jesus’ resurrection is a message from the Father that this is a living word!
Moreover, in this sense, the arc of the covenant of Scripture extends as a word of hope, until Jesus returns. This hope necessitated the rise of the New Testament connecting all believers in His word to the promise God made a long time ago that they would all be made a part of His household.
All of it matters, from Genesis to Revelation. Indeed, He is Risen!