liturgy and its variations

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know how important liturgy is for me, and that I have made a deliberate decision to be part of a liturgical denomination.

While I was listening to The Catholic Church: A History from The Great Courses, an engaging series of lectures, by the way, I therefore paid special attention to the comments on liturgy.

One comment that caught my attention is that Catholics sing “Lamb of God” before Communion. Lutherans do as well. In the Episcopal Church we go straight to the Communion music.

Catholics, according to the professor, William R. Cook, say the Nicene Creed each week, as do Episcopalians. In the Episcopal Church it is after the sermon. Lutherans sing the hymn of the day at that point and don’t say a creed every Sunday.

He mentioned that a non-Latin rite in the Catholic Church shares the Peace before Communion, as do Lutherans and Episcopalians. The vast majority of the Catholic Church is in the Latin Rite, and they share the peace, I understand, later in the service.

The Lutheran Church sings an Alleluia before and after the Gospel. Episcopalians sing a hymn related to the reading.

Episcopalians say the confession most Sundays. Lutherans say a confession occasionally, but it’s not integrated into the normal Sunday liturgy.

Lutherans end the service with “Thanks the Lord and sing his praise,” or the Nunc Dimittis (“Now Lord, let your servant go in peace…”). In the Episcopal Church the service ends with a hymn.

It’s not that these differences are important in any way, but I do find it interesting to see how the three main liturgical denominations in the United States vary in their practice.