At The Church of the Incarnation, we promote Order.
Our church is liturgical. God is a God of Order. Heaven is a liturgical place. What do we mean by this?
"Liturgy" is an English word taken from its Latin root word, meaning "the work of the people" or simply "the people's work." Every church has some form of liturgy, because in every church the people of the church work together to make the worship and prayer life of the church happen. This sort of work is a "work of faith, endurance of hope, and labor of love." (I Thessalonians 1:3)
Some churches have missals or prayer books, like ours, where each aspect of the service is spelled out, both the people's part and the leaders' parts. In other churches, a bulletin with an Order of Service and hymnal are the tools by which one follows along during the service. Still others are free-form, with neither missal, bulletin or hymnal. But in all cases, one knows where one is at all times -- when to sit, stand, or kneel, sing, speak or remain quiet.
Heaven is a liturgical place. In the book of Revelation, St. John gave us glimpses of the heavenly worship. In his visions of heaven, there is the use of incense, long white robes, the use of bodily postures, such as bowing and prostrations, the use of candles, a throne, and multiple orders of angels and saints, working together to worship God.
Also, in the book of Hebrews it speaks of the Old Testament form of worship: "They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.” (Hebrews 8:5) So when the saints of old worshiped God with incense, bread, wine, oil, long robes, ceremonial washings, candles, etc, they were doing so according to the pattern that was given to Moses by God. This pattern was based on the reality of worship in heaven.
As a new testament church, we believe that this pattern was not done away with by Jesus, but fulfilled. Instead of many sacrifices, He became our one sufficient sacrifice for sin. The worship of both synagogue and Temple were fused into one form by Christ's institution and the obedience of the Apostles. So, like we read in Old Testament worship and see through the eyes of St. John in heavenly worship, we continue to worship God with incense, candles, and robes. In reflection of the angelic worship in heaven, we have various orders of clergy and laymen who serve to assist in worship -- from the bishops, priests and deacons, to the epistler, gospeller, acolyte, thurifer, and crucifer. We even sing the angelic hymn, "Holy, Holy, Holy," each Sunday.
We further believe that it is not against the Gospel to have seasons of fasting and feasting, to recite ancient prayers that come to us from the earliest centuries of Christianity, to chant the Psalms, as did Jesus and His disciples, committing them to memory by the frequency of their usage in public and private worship. We believe worship is an action of the whole person, body and soul. It is not simply a mental assertion. And so we lift up our hands, kneel, stand, sit, or walk in procession. In doing so, our bodies reflect what our innermost heart believes and feels and knows to be true, namely that God is a loving Father and is on His throne, Christ alone has saved us from the power of death, sin, the flesh and the devil, and that we are to be humble and filled with the Holy Spirit, open to His movement in our lives every day.
This is what it means to be a liturgical church.