Which tradition is closest to Jesus’s Liturgy?

If someone says, “Yeah, but we can trace our complex liturgy back to St Ignatius who was John’s disciple and you can’t,” then I simply respond, “I don’t care.  This is what those aforesaid disciples said Jesus did.” (And at this point it is obvious that Ignatius trumps the disciples on their gloss).

What Jesus Did

Institution of the Lord’s Supper

26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the[c] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

Jesus Foretells Peter’s Denial

30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Roman Catholic Liturgy (and to be fair I’ll quote the more traditional one and not the Novus Ordo Clown Masses)

Why do we ring the chimes or bells during the Eucharistic Prayer? I was once told that before microphones were used, the bells would be rung to let the people who couldn’t hear know that the most important part of the Mass was taking place.
The bells originally had a practical purpose. The Mass was in Latin, and the words were spoken quietly by the priest – so even microphones were not an issue. The bell was rung one time when the priest extended his hands over the chalice in blessing right before the Consecration. This was a signal to the congregation that the Consecration was about to take place. Then, when the words of Consecration had been spoken, the priest would genuflect, raise the Host (Chalice) to be visible to the people, and then genuflect again. The bell was rung at each of those steps – so the triple ring became common.

Nowadays, with the Mass in the vernacular language, and the words spoken aloud, the bells are rung in some parishes more as a continuity of tradition than as a practical matter.

Eastern Orthodox Liturgy

Most of the Proskomedia happens in the sanctuary behind the iconostasis. While the priests prepare the offering, the congregation participates in further litanies. Every part of the service except the homily is chanted, and normally a choir sings while the congregation does not. Clouds of incense fill the church at specific moments, signifying the prayers of the congregation rising to heaven, and signifying the presence of the Holy Spirit.


High Reformed Liturgy:

The Sacrifice of Peace
Prayers of Thanksgiving & Memorial !
Communion Hymn: #583 (Psalm 25) “Lord I lift my soul”! ! TH!
Communion in the Body & Blood of Our Lord!
†The Song of Simeon (Nunc Dimittis): Luke 2:30-32!

Baptist Liturgy

The pastor transubstantiates the wine into grape juice because we are holier than God.   He then passes out the chiclets while a lady on stage sings an emotional solo.




4 comments on “Which tradition is closest to Jesus’s Liturgy?

  1. Angela Wittman says:

    This might be a bit off point, but I visited the “High Reformed Liturgy” PCA Church you link to as an example and from what I can gather Jeff Meyers is still the pastor, (?) I just can’t do the “High Reformed Liturgy” scene… I’m shocked they call themselves Reformed Presbyterians. Frankly, I found the Worship service to be more of a staged production than what I was accustomed to in the RPCNA.

    • I didn’t want to link to Meyers, but it was the easiest one to link to. I used to go to a high liturgy PCA church that used to have an episcopal liturgy but toned it down over seven years; something closer to what Mike Horton advocates.

      • Angela Wittman says:

        I was thinking of running from the term “Reformed Presbyterian” after reading their outline for Worship. 🙂

  2. Fear not, I am not advocating this type of worship per se. I was just wanting to show the simplicity of the Lord’s Supper as Jesus did it contrasted with the smells and bells of other traditions.

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