The 4 Liturgies Of Christ
For some time now I have posited that as Liturgy is Scripture, Scripture is also Liturgy. Here is a primer on my thesis.
The longer I think on these things, however, the more clear they become. Contrary to the entire historical critical enterprise and "The Jesus Seminar," the 4 gospels are not literary productions to be analyzed, criticized or voted upon. But they are, rather, 4 liturgies of the Lord to be read aloud and heard by the church at worship. From beginning to end each gospel shows how Jesus liturgized his Father. How Jesus did for us what we cannot do for ourselves, and by so doing obtained eternal salvation for us.
While it would be ideal to read one of the four from beginning to end in the church on the Lord's Day, the church has never done that. (At least not that we know of except by circumstantial evidence.) But to give voice to them, and to faithfully hear any of the four from beginning to end provides the church with the full liturgy that our Lord's life was/is.
Such faithful reading and hearing, however, is not merely information but rather, "the power of God unto salvation for all who believe." (Romans 1:16). Such reading and hearing is the very voice of Jesus cleansing us of our sins (John 15:3), transforming us (2 Corinthians 3:18), and filling us with his own holiness and power.
Further, in defense of the gospels from the wretched hands of historical and literary critics, each gospel stands on its own. There is no need to harmonize them, or attempt to defend their unique approach. Said another way: There is no "synoptic problem"!
With such a view of the gospels in mind it also seems that we should understand the entirety of Scripture in the same terms as we understand Christian Worship. As being comprised of two parts: the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Sacrament. The Old Testament is the Liturgy of the Word. By its divine utterances and promises it sees and foretells nothing but the coming of Christ in the flesh. The New Testament is the Liturgy of the Sacrament/Christ Incarnate. His Body and Blood given on the cross and in the Eucharist which is, by definition, the New Testament. "This Cup is the New Testament..."
Is means is.
And so before we slice or dice the gospels and analyze them every which way, let us remove our shoes for we stand on Holy Ground. On Christ. On the church's True Liturgist in the True Tent. (Hebrews 8:2)
As we read aloud and hear any segment of the Lord's Liturgy (i.e. the Liturgy that our Lord offers before God for us men and for our salvation) let us understand what we are dealing with. Not merely a pericope, or story but a portion of Christ's own Liturgy that can never be disconnected from his whole Blessed Person, or the whole gospel from which the church reads.