Monday, June 6, 2011

Laodicea - Canon 18

The same service of prayers is to be said always both at nones and at vespers.

Nones were held at the ninth hour of the day (i.e., 3 P.M.), while vespers were late afternoon or evening.  Church feasts ended with prayer with the actual ending time changing based on the feast observed.  Whichever ending time was observed that service would be the same as the other service.  No difference would be made based on the hour of the day.

There may be a lesson learned from this practice.  Many local churches will have two or more Sunday morning meetings that are different stylistically.  The general intent is to draw a certain demographic to a meeting that is palpable to their subculture.  The services of the historic church were not so ordered.  The differences in the meetings held that day dealt with foci of the faith, all being presented with the same style of worship.  The modern version is to present the same focus of faith as another meeting with changes geared to an emotional response.  Emotional response of the meeting experience is placed above the spiritual need of the group or individual as the prime motivation for an order of service.  As a result, any truth that is projected will be taken as a personal truth applicable to the need of the day instead of the reality that there is a universal truth that applies equally to all people for all times.  Churches need to move away from packaging to niche markets and direct their efforts to presenting the whole word of God, first as law to expose sin, then in the gospel to provide hope all the while demonstrating the sufficiency of Christ and his work on the cross.

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