Anglicanism 101 – The Processional

Anglicanism 101 - The Processional

We are used to community parades, graduation processions, and wedding processions. Not everyone is used to a procession in worship at church.

However, even though many modern churches or traditions don’t process anymore, it is an ancient and important Christian practice.  In many Anglican churches, as the worship is starting, the ministers process to the front of the church, following the cross. After worship, they “recess” out.

Gathered and Sent Out

The idea of the procession is simple. We are gathering for worship from outside, from our daily lives and community. We are approaching God, through Christ, therefore the cross goes before us. As we leave, we are being sent back out into the world, with the cross leading the way.

It used to be that everyone—laity and clergy—gathered outside of the worship space, and then followed the cross in and then out. Because of the need for seating, time, etc, not everyone processes today. But the symbolism remains. We are under the cross of Christ, and we follow the cross of Christ into the presence of God, and back into the world. 

Victory March

There are other aspects to procession. One is the idea of a victory march. Paul wrote about this in his second letter to the Corinthians, “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere…” We march into the church in victory—victory over sin and death through Christ— and we march out in victory, taking the Good News of the love of God in Christ with us.

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March 01, 2020

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