Original Research

Why worship? Revisiting a fundamental liturgical question

Johan Cilliers
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 65, No 1 | a126 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v65i1.126 | © 2009 Johan Cilliers | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 March 2009 | Published: 17 April 2009

About the author(s)

Johan Cilliers, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa

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In this article the fundamental liturgical question as to the motive and intention of worship is addressed within the framework of four related liturgical tensions, namely between being and becoming, between time and space, between awe and expression, and between laughter and lament. In order to do this, some classical voices from the past are listened to, for instance, Schleiermacher, Kierkegaard, Moltmann, Tillich, Otto, Bakhtin and Buber, but more contemporary views are also considered. These four tensions are described in the light of the key terms: ‘already’ and ‘not yet’, and some implications for present-day liturgical practices are drawn.


worship; liturgy; motivation; liturgical practices; intention


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