The church is an assembly. The church is a gathering of people in a particular place who are, together, through concrete means, participating in the mystery of Christ and so are being formed into the holy assembly. The church is not a collection of consuming individuals, choosing religious goods according to their own self-perceived needs or desires. It is not a club supporting a particular ideology. It is not the audience for a speaker’s eloquence, a choir’s concert, or a priest’s rituals. The local church-assembly is itself, as gathering, the primary symbol. By its participation, by its communal mode of song and prayer around Scripture reading, meal keeping, and bathing, it is being transformed into a primary witness to the identity of God and the identity of the world before God. These assertions can be taken to summarize the deepest insights of the twentieth-century liturgical movement.
Gordon W. Lathrop, Holy People: A Liturgical Ecclesiology (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2006), p. 49. ISBN: 978-0-8006-3840-5.