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Bible Dictionaries

The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia

Responsive Service

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The glory of the Episcopal Church is its responsive service, as provided by the Book of Common Prayer. By means of this, the people have their part in the service. Thus worship becomes general throughout the whole congregation and the people are not silent spectators, nor yet simply an audience. But however reasonable and desirable this may be, there is a deeper principle involved. The responsive character of the services brings out and emphasizes the "Priesthood of the People." St. Peter, in his First General Epistle, writing to the Baptized, says of them, "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal Priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should show forth the praise of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous Light." Thus the Baptized are called in Holy Scripture "a royal priesthood," and this doctrine pervades the Prayer-book. The whole system of responsive worship is founded upon the Priesthood of the Laity, and enables them to show forth the praise of Him who hath called them out of darkness into His marvelous Light. (See AMEN; FORMS; also VERSICLES.)

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Bibliography Information
Miller, William James. Entry for 'Responsive Service'. The American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia. 1901.

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