(Just because it is clear to me neither sides of my world are typically very aware of the other...)
For my non-liturgical friends, read this
For my liturgical friends: Not all Christians are liturgical. It's no big thing, really. They just aren't. Somehow they manage Christianity without it. ;-)
1. I am not Catholic, nor have I ever been.
2. I do not attend a liturgical church. In fact, it has come to my awareness the number of people in my church who even know the meaning of "liturgical" can probably be counted on one hand. (Again...no big deal. Carry on. Just sayin'.)
3. I was not raised in a liturgical environment. Sometime, in my young adult life (early 20's), I worshipped with a Lutheran congregation who put great emphasis on the liturgy. Until then, I had never even heard the word.
4. In my current life, even though I do not corporately practice it, I find the liturgy familiar and comfortable and I do place value on it. I do not think it's necessary for worship (as evidenced my current worship style affiliation), but I do think it's good for a lot of things. For instance, religious instruction. I learned a lot about church history and tradition from the liturgy. The ritual of saying the Apostle's Creed reminds me of what I actually believe in (in the event someone were to pin me down and make me say in so many words or less.) Should I mention here my initial horror of saying I believe in the "holy catholic church"...because I didn't have enough understanding to realize "catholic"
is not the same as "Catholic"? Duh. The ritual of it is soothing to me. I like organization and structure.
4. It probably goes without saying a little liturgy goes a long way with me. I should mention my introduction was in a church who put the liturgy above all else. You can get lost in that. (Anyone can get lost in any worship style...just sayin'.)
I do not believe "liturgically correct" is the yardstick with which to measure one's relationship with God. For me, the liturgy is more of a tool. I do not say this to be offensive or confusing, just trying to explain where I'm at.
5. There are times I miss it. The liturgical calendar is so celebratory and something seems to be missing when one (who has been accustomed to celebrating specific events) no longer celebrates.
Which brings us to Advent.
Actually, I miscalculated and thought Advent didn't start until next Sunday...the result of Christmas falling on a Sunday this year. There was some last minute cobbling together of the Advent Wreath.
"The first candle is traditionally the candle of Expectation or Hope (or in some traditions, Prophecy). This draws attention to the anticipation of the coming of an Anointed One, a Messiah, that weaves its way like a golden thread through Old Testament history. As God’s people were abused by power hungry kings, led astray by self-centered prophets, and lulled into apathy by half-hearted religious leaders, there arose a longing among some for God to raise up a new king who could show them how to be God’s people. They yearned for a return of God’s dynamic presence in their midst.
And so, God revealed to some of the prophets that indeed He would not leave His people without a true Shepherd. While they expected a new earthly king, their expectations fell far short of God’s revelation of Himself in Christ. And yet, the world is not yet fully redeemed. So, we again with expectation, with hope, await God’s new work in history, the second Advent, in which He will again reveal Himself to the world. And we understand in a profound sense that the best, the highest of our expectations will fall far short of what our Lord’s Second Advent will reveal!" (Christian Resource Institute)
(This feels all scattered and I'm pretty certain I probably left out something important I wanted to say.)