Worship and Symbolism


Sunday Worship in Church

Sunday is the 'Lord's Day' - chrisitians celebrate the sabbath on sunday. The main service will usually include; songs, bible readings and a sermon

In roman catholic, orthodox and most anglian churches worship will be structured & liturgical (will follow a pattern laid down in writing) 

Methodists & other nonconformists have structured but non-liturgical services 

Roman catholic & orthodox sunday services always include the Eucharist. Anglian churches usually include the eucharist

some christians hold church services in their own homes. 

many christians worship informally at home (not just on sundays). 

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Inside a Typical Parish Church

1. Altar - most important place in the church - table which holds items for communion service, east end of the church 

2. east window - often stained glass, right behind altar & draws attention to it 

3. pulpit - raised box where the minister gives sermon or talks to segregation

4. refredos - some churches have a painted or sculpted screen behind  the altar, often has pictures of Jesus, mary or saints & helps to focus attention on the altat

5. sanctuary - raised platform where the most important parts of the service take place

6. lectern - stand for the church bible, often in shape of an eagle 

7. covered font - holds water for baptism 

8. nave - main part of church where the congregation sits 

9. aisle - aisles often used in processsions 

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Religious Architecture - symbolism

1. cathedrals can be enormous, demonstrating their importance. were historically built at the centre of the community to represent God's kingship on Earth. Inside the focus is always on the altar, where the main act of worship (celebrating holy communion)takes place 

2. orthodox churches are often in the shape of a cross, with a large dome on top symbolising Christ's presence, eternity & the nearness of heaven. inside they are richly decorated with friezes & carvings. 

3. free churches (e.g. baptists) meet in simple halls where the pulpit is the focus of attention. this shows the importance of them of preaching from the bible. also in a baptist church, the prominence of the baptistry (a pool for baptism by total immersion) shows the central importance of baptism

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Icons, statues and stained-glass windows - symboli

1. icons are paintings often found in orthodox churches, & often greeted with a kiss on entering the building. used to represent the presence of saintsm as as a means to prayer. statues also represent the presence of saints 

2. large cathedrals and churches are often decorated with colourful murals or frescoes, and many feature stained-glass windows showing biblical stories. 

3. cross is the most well known christian symbol, represents Jesus' crucifixion. crucifixes can be found in roman catholic & orthodox churches, - reminder of Jesus' suffering

4.the fish is another important symbol of chrisitanity

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Church Music is Symbolic

Church music symbolic - used to praise God & express belief. 

1. Hymns have been part of Christian worship for many centuries - often derived from passages of scripture

2, In some Protestant churches, choirs lead the singing 

3. Many different musical instruments are used in worship. 

4. Dancing common in charismatic churches - seen as a sign of the Holy Spirit's presence 

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