Faith is the significant aspect of the personal development. The fact of belonging to the definite religion emphasizes not only the personal relations with God but also accentuates a man’s belonging to the religious community. To feel the support of God and the community, it is important to attend the liturgies and assemblies in the church.
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Christians traditionally gather in order to worship God on Sundays. Thus, Sunday is considered as the holy day or the day of God. In this case, ‘Sunday Celebrations’ can be discussed as the official and public worships which are held in the church. ‘Sunday Celebrations’ are of great importance for Christians.
That is why even when the Mass cannot be held because of the absence of a priest, the members of the community gather in order to participate in the Celebration of the Word of God and Communion. ‘Sunday Celebrations’ provide Christians with the opportunity to participate in the dialogue with God which is realized with the help of definite rites, praying, and listening to the Word of God.
I have an experience of attending the traditional ‘Sunday Celebrations’ where the main part of the liturgy is the Eucharist and Communion, and I also participated in assemblies which were held without a priest. Today, Sunday gatherings without priests also can be considered as important for the personal spiritual development.
However, if the ‘Sunday Celebration’ is organized according to the main liturgical principles and includes the Eucharist, it consists of many parts, and each of them has its specific sacred meaning for Christians. Moreover, there are no insignificant elements in the process of Sunday liturgy.
Each liturgy should be opened with the Introductory rites which help to organize the community and begin the celebrations. Thus, the Introductory rites are traditionally associated with the priest’s sprinkling the holy water. This rite is important for creating the atmosphere of Christ’s presence and the feeling of blessing.
The next element of the liturgy is the Celebration of the Word of God. It is the main part of the realization of the dialogue between Christians and God. Christians listen to the words of God about the peculiarities of their salvation and redemption and strengthen their faith with the help of reflection on the words.
Thus, they have the chance to listen to the readings which are selected by priests for the liturgy. In this situation the Christians’ prayers can be discussed as their responses to the words of God.
Nevertheless, the most significant elements of the liturgy are the Eucharist and the Communion rites. These parts of the liturgy are conducted in order to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. They are the moments when Christians can share the consecrated bread and wine as the symbols of Christ’s body and blood.
It is also important to determine such parts of the liturgy as Thanksgiving and Concluding rites. Thanksgiving prayers should be different from the Eucharist prayers. It is the moment when Christians faithfully praise the mercy of God with the help of psalms and hymns.
To conclude the liturgy and provide the connection between this sacred Sunday ritual and the everyday life, it is necessary to pay attention to the Concluding rites. It is also the moment of the personal reflection when people are aware of the mystery of the Eucharist and Communion and their relations with God.
Nowadays, it is possible to participate in ‘Sunday Celebrations’ which are held not by a priest but by the spiritual leader of the community or even by a layperson. Some years ago such assemblies were rather rare, but today Christians admit the opportunity to gather in order to praise God without a priest’s presence.
I agree that it is important to gather each Sunday in order to follow the ritual of a liturgy and when the priest is absent Christians can realize the process with omitting the elements connected with the Eucharist. However, such aspects of the liturgy as the Celebration of the Word of God and Thanksgiving remain to be significant. Every chance to participate in the ‘Sunday Celebration’ is spiritually meaningful for Christians.
If some years ago there was only one variant of providing the liturgy on Sundays, today there is the division between the traditional liturgy conducted by a priest and the holy assembly without the priest’s participation.
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In spite of the number of elements which form the liturgical procedure or a ‘Sunday Celebration’, the main aspect of these celebrations is the Christians’ faith and their intention to participate in the dialogue with God and praise the mercy and glory of God.