"The event begins at 6pm with a family-friendly Cajun dinner, music and games. Kids are welcome until 8pm, when the adult portion of the evening begins. Cost of the dinner is [$price] per person. Adult beverages will be available for an additional fee.
"The party will be followed by a traditional Ash Wednesday liturgy of repentance on Wednesday at 7am. For more information, call [phone#]"
"What good to Me are your many sacrifices, says Jehovah? I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of well-fed cattle; nor do I delight in the blood of bulls, of lambs, or he goats. When you come to appear before Me, who has required this at your hand, to trample My courts? Bring no more vain sacrifices; its incense is an abomination to Me. I cannot endure the new moon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies, and the wicked festivals. My soul hates your new moons and your appointed feasts. They are a burden to Me; I am weary of bearing them. And when you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you. Even though you multiply prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood.
What is liturgy? According to the dictionary: "A prescribed form or set of forms for public christian ceremonies; ritual" And if a person scrolls down to the "important derivatives" section, in-amongst the various things, one finds the word "work".
What is "ritual"? Coming from the word "rite": "prescribed order of religious ceremony", "rites used in a place of worship", "ceremonial act or series of acts", and get this: "fertility rites"
The world is full of rites. The pagan rite of spring, involving demons, goblins and sexual perversity. When Rome manipulated it, it became known as "easter". India has rites where they get smudges on their foreheads. Prior to easter Rome has Ash Wednesday where they get smudges on their foreheads. Babylon of Rome has many rites where they make the pagan "sign of the cross", eat round wafers, drink wine. It is all done with pomp and circumstance, processions carrying staffs, banners, symbols, and holding up a -book- (they call the Bible) in solemn ceremony, swinging a container of smoking incense. One rite at birth guarantees Heaven. But since there are no guarantees, that rite having been a lie, after a person dies, the living perform rites, hoping to gain the dead entry into Heaven. It is all mumbo jumbo, hocus pocus.
Trouble is, the word "hocus" comes from the word "hoax". Deceit and trickery. It is all fraudulent. It is all...
The ritual is repeated regularly: Come forward at the 'altar call' for Salvation, Rededication, Baptism, Church Membership. If a person goes forward for "salvation", what is the rite? "Repeat after me these words" Did you say those words and "really mean it"? Well then, Sh'zamm! You're a Christian. Any responsibilities after Salvation? Nope! God accepts you "just as you are!" If "good works" were expected, well, that's "works". Forget that! And we are not saved by works. (Eph2:9)
But what is all this business of "walking the aisle"? I have known some pastors who would not baptize a person, or accept them into membership by mere request in private conversation to have it done; but what the pastor -requires- that the person "walks the aisle" at the next service to make the request... what? 'official'? The 'rite' of "going forward"?
Most religious people consider that a couple is living "in sin" if they have not participated in the "fertility rites" of walking up the steps to the altar, to then have the pastor/priest mutter some ceremonious words over them, 'pronouncing' them "married".
You see, the rites, ritual and liturgy abound; both from Rome, and everything else that calls itself "church".
Where did liturgy originate? Surely, from the devil... right? If we are casting ritual in a bad light, surely something evil like that came from satan? Well, no!
God gave Adam and Eve the rituals of animal sacrifice for sin. And as Moses leads Israel out of Egyptian slavery, the entire collection of Law is a collection of ritual. Yes: liturgy (by definition). And Moses was warned about strict adherence to "the pattern" shown to him. (Ex25:40, Heb8:5) We won't look up the references, but if things were not done in strict adherence, there were dire consequences. Death, leprosy, etc.
So, if God was so strict to the letter of the Law, what is going on with His harsh words in our opening passages? Why was God not pleased with Israel's ritual? ...their liturgy?
Babylon of Rome engages in "Fat Tuesday", and then liturgically "cleanses" their "Debauchery" with Ash Wednesday ritual. The debauchery is so bad that it is only for "adults"; children "not allowed".
They are saying, "Let us sin" because "grace abounds" the next day. What does Paul say to that? "LET IT NOT BE!" Why?
But notice the words carefully. We are not saved, to -remain- "just as we are". No! Paul says that we "-WALK- in newness of life" (vs4b)
The term "walk" is a description of HOW WE LIVE.
To engage in Fat Tuesday, and then Liturgy of Repentance, is like to replay Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" over and over. We can think "by His stripes we are healed" (Is53:5); so... "Oh goodie! Let's have some fun!" Now Lash! Lash! Lash! and Pound! Pound! Pound! the whip and those nails in some more! After all, Jesus' blood is "perpetually flowing" for our sin. So, it doesn't matter. Jesus is always on the cross, in perpetual state of crucifixion...so let's "take advantage" of that, and have "fun". Sin to our heart's content, because after all, we can just go get the Liturgy of Repentance, and be absolved of our sin. What a deal!!!
No! No! No! That's why Paul says, "LET IT NOT BE!" (Rom6:2)
Jesus does not get crucified "daily". He died "once for all" (Heb7:27) and proclaimed the work "finished". (Jn19:30)
We do what we "want" to do. What we want to do is what is in our hearts. If we are busy sinning, because that is what we would -rather- be doing, it indicates the state of our heart. Are we good or evil? Do we desire righteousness or wickedness?
"Yet they say, YAH does not see, nor does the God of Jacob perceive it. Understand, you stupid ones among the people; and you fools, when will you be wise? He who planted the ear, shall He not hear? He who formed the eye, shall He not see? " (Ps94:7-9)
And equally, those who invite "repeat after me this prayer", and tell the person "you can never lose your salvation" because you've had the liturgy, and also that "God accepts you JUST AS YOU ARE (you don't need to change: from your sinful ways): are Liars.
One of Israel's primary liturgical rites, begun with Abraham, was circumcision. And yet the pharisee Paul declares:
For this discussion, if we liken Sin to a disease, what is the evidence when there is "remission" of the disease? The cancer cells have lessened, or been removed. There is no more disease or symptom of disease. The disease is no longer visible, noticed or affecting the person's health.
When there has been true Repentance (by definition: also a repudiation of sin), there is Remission of sin. The sin has been -removed- "as far as east is from the west" (Ps103:12) If the sin is no longer around, characterizing the person, there is not going to be Debauchery and "adult" entertainment. Repudiation, by definition, includes loathing and casting it as far away from a person as possible; turning one's back on it; walking away from the old haunts, activities and friends.
By definition, Repentance is -NOT- a "liturgy". It is not something a person does in order to be able to do what they REALLY WANT TO DO. By such behavior a person admits to being a liar before God. They "make claims" (for Jesus), but do not love Him enough to live pure and holy lives "as He is pure" (1Jn3:3)
The way it is practiced, the "Liturgy of Repentance" is a sham, a lie, hypocrisy.
And if you, dear reader, consider yourself to be a Protestant and/or Evangelical, and that this topic doesn't apply to you, but are pointing your finger at Rome because 'they' are the ones who observe liturgies... LOOK IN THE MIRROR! If you proclaim the Gospel according to "repeat after me" of "the prayer", and don't think a person needs to 'change' after they get "saved"... LOOK IN THE MIRROR! Wake up! This is to you!
God does not desire liturgy. He desires a heart.
Abraham observed the ritual of circumcision. But his state before God in RIGHTEOUSNESS was the fact that he "believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness" (Rom4:3) If Abraham had not believed God, circumcision would never have followed.
Before God, liturgy -follows- the heart condition. People would never have brought sacrificial animals to the altar if their hearts hadn't already first been seeking God's righteousness and forgiveness. What Israel had done, and what the "church" does today: The hearts have no intention of being holy before God, but they hope the liturgy will somehow absolve their way into Heaven, while they continue living in their non-judgmental gray areas. But God knows the heart
"I Jehovah search the heart, I examine the soul, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings." (Jer17:10)