The Power of Ekklesia

The ancient image of ekklesia will also help us to see the contents of our liturgies more clearly. We do not gather as individual consumers come to a priestly distributor of religious goods. We come to do a communal thing, to be a people, to receive a common vocation, to be a tangible representation of the biblical image “assembly.” Churches that keep one of the classic rites as the source for the core words of their present celebration will be assisted in this, since those words are so filled with the ancient sense of a holy people gathered before the holy God: the “we” of gloria in excelsis, the creed, and the eucharistic prayer, for example, or the prayers for the unity of all the churches of God as well as for the unity of the people here present, or the greeting of peace, or the mutuality of the repeated dominus vobiscum greeting combined with its sense of the presence of the Risen One in this plural gathering.

Gordon W. Lathrop, Holy People: A Liturgical Ecclesiology (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2006), p. 45. ISBN: 978-0-8006-3840-5.

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