The Mennonite historian and missiologist Alan Kreider says in ‘Ressourcement and Mission’, Anglican Theological Review 96.2 (2014), 260, ‘When we watch the Jerusalem Christians of the late fourth century practicing ambulatory, “stational” worship, we will think of ways that Christians in pluralist societies can give public demonstration to their faith.’ Especially if we ought to separate worship for the baptized and formation for those who are being initiated, yet in a time when believers are not persecuted and so are still free to appear openly in public as Christians, perhaps processions are a way for the Church to show her presence by reminding the world that its peace is secured by the ministry of Jesus Christ and the prayers of the Church.
Such a procession would probably start at the door of the church building or of the house where believers were accustomed to gather. From thence it would go to places of spiritual import, places that needed prayer. On the way to these places, the believers would sing psalms that were fitting for the occasion, and stopping at these stations they would give their prayers, which a man would articulate on behalf of the entire group in a short collect. This public exercise would require a sense of spiritual geography. Perhaps, turning from a place where Christian students lived, the procession would go toward a place where people ate. The Lord upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down. The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing. And the prayer might be for those who ate, who were filled with good things by the hand of the Lord, that they would acknowledge him who had made all these things and come to know the peace of God offered in the holy gospel. Blessed for ever be his holy Name, in whom is all our help.
And thence on to the university campus, a place of learning and hearts shrouded in darkness. I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments. I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly. For the law of the Lord is perfect, and the law of the Lord is the basis of all learning, for the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes. Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works. Teach us, O Lord, to know thy will displayed throughout the world, whose truths we discover in the many sciences. Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments. The whole world is a school for piety, and all its knowledge directed toward praise, if only the Father of all will give us understanding. Of the making of books there is no end, and God alone is the giver of delight. That those who read many words and write many words and speak many words may hear in the silences the word of the Lord, may God hear our fervent prayers. We stop at the lecture halls, the libraries, the laboratories. O Christ, hear us.
At the clock tower, one remembers that all men must live and die, and that praise must be sung to God for the time that is given us and the hour that is appointed for our death. And the only-begotten Son of God himself, incarnate as a man, has died for us and our salvation, and by his precious death and glorious resurrection has redeemed the race of sinful men, and we believe that he will come to be our judge at the Last Day and set all things right.
Therefore we look up to the heavens, whence the Son of Man is to come with power and glory, and remember the washing of regeneration which assures us that he will change this vile body into his glorious body, incorruptible. And in the meantime he is King.
All power and authority in heaven and on earth is in his hand. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. God is known in her palaces for a refuge. For, lo, the kings were assembled, they passed by together. They saw it, and so they marvelled; they were troubled, and hasted away. The gates of hell shall not prevail against his kingdom, which shall have no end. Let the people praise him. Thy God hath commanded thy strength: strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us. Because of thy temple at Jerusalem shall kings bring presents unto thee. Therefore shall no man stand against his will, but their hearts will melt like wax, and they will be scattered who will not do honour to his Name.
Down the street the Christians go, to the park where beggars live, the Pool of Bethesda where the shadows lie. My heart is smitten, and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread. It is a house of affliction and drugs. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end. Let us pray that the Lord may lift up the countenances of those who are in the shadow of death, and show the glory of his Name. Hear us, Almighty God, that the waste may become the meadow of the blooming crocus, and the deaf hear, and the mute speak, and the lame dance for joy in thy righteousness.
Through all these places the believers went, for they trusted in God that he would deliver them. Through their prayers God looked upon the place and blessed the Church with great wisdom and power to give due priestly honour to his Name and proclaim the Desire of Nations. As they worked for love of their neighbour, the Holy Ghost moved upon the waters, and fear came upon the people to lighten their minds toward the knowledge of God.