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!