Liturgy-God’s Navigation System
Recently a dear friend of mine, one of our Protestant brothers and sisters, asked me about the Anglican Liturgy. It was a simple question, why? Our Lady of Wikipedia defines liturgy as follows:
Liturgy (Greek: λειτουργία) is the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular beliefs, customs and traditions.
As I was pondering on how to answer, I remembered a brainstorming session Canon Rusty and I had while designing our new website. The good Canon used the euphemism that it is like road signs giving us directions. We of course meant to write it down but we obviously both have adult ADHD and forgot. So it dawned on me that the liturgy is just like the navigation systems we have in our cars and on our smart phones or tablets. What do they do? They keep us focused and get us to our destination. You all know that mechanical voice, “ Turn right in 700 ft on to Main Street, your destination is on your left.” Or if you make a wrong turn, “Make a U-turn when possible” . That is how I think of the liturgy.
We all are “of this world” even though as believers we try so hard not to be. God calls us to be sanctified, set apart from this world to live holy and righteous lives. We all fail, we are flawed and always will be, so as much as we try we cannot totally escape the trappings of this world. We all get distracted so many times a day, whether from worry, stress, anxiety or excitement. I don’t know about you but I “see a squirrel” more often than not. I’ll look down and wonder why or how an empty plate with 3 light bulbs and a socket wrench ended up on my desk. Then you have the classic, “why am I standing in the hall closet?” It is natural that the same thing can happen when you gather with your church family to worship. You get distracted, let your mind wonder off to a stressful situation at work, money problems, the kids soccer game or that new bass boat waiting for you in the driveway. The liturgy helps us stay focused. Our navigation system starts on page 67 in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. It is a form of worship that, through traditional prayer, involves all of the worshipers senses. Standing to praise, kneeling to pray and sitting to learn. The smell of the incense, the touch of the prayer book and pew. The sight of the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist. The sound of the bells. The taste of the sacred body and blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You become a living, active part of the liturgy which in turn keeps you focused and brings you to a closer and more intimate relationship with God.
The destination? The main reason we attend mass, the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist, the living presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the bread and wine. The opportunity to come to God’s table and partake of his most Blessed Body and Blood, so he is in us and we in him.
We urge you this Sunday to go and worship at a church of your choice. Communal prayer is the most powerful.
Enjoy this weekend. The weather is supposed to be beautiful. There is a fishing poll in my future.
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