Skip to main content

Life in Greencastle - Liturgy

“Liturgy.” You may know this word. You may not. It is a fairly “churchy” word. We use it to talk about our time of worship on Sunday mornings. When we use the word “liturgy” we are talking about certain parts of our worship: the call to worship, the prayer of confession, the Gloria Patri, the Lord’s Prayer. The word may not seem all that interesting.

But, I wonder. Do you know where we get the word “liturgy?” It actually comes from a Greek word – leitourgia. Maybe that makes it a bit more intriguing. Leitourgia: sounds pretty fancy, eh?

But don’t get your hopes up too high because leitourgia simply is a Greek word that originally meant “the work of the people.”

The work of the people. That is what true liturgy is. True liturgy is letting all of our time and energy be devoted to God. True liturgy is not confined to printed bulletins and words spoken on Sunday morning.

True liturgy is when you and I allow our work today to be done in God’s name for God’s world. The work of the people is what you are doing this day, what you are attending to this week. The work of the people, the liturgy, is that project you’ve been working on for your boss. The work of the people is the work you are doing to help out around the house. It is the job or chore or task that is sometimes challenging, sometimes enjoyable, sometimes frustrating, and sometimes boring.

But, whatever it is, it is still work … important, vital work.

Let me share with you a scene I’ve been watching this week to help clarify my point.

This week in the land below our home, the farmer’s have been at work, harvesting the beans in the field. I drove home on Monday evening, and a combine was busy moving north to south across the terrain. The next morning, as I left for work I could see several other men at work – some of them driving truck to deliver the goods, others assisting with the grain carts.

This is clearly the work of the people: small bands of farmers putting energy and effort towards a task. And, it is important work. It is vital work. But, it is not the only work that goes on. In fact, it is just the tip of the ice-berg as they say.

Every day, in some form or fashion we – as a congregation – go to work. We may get in a car, or we may stay at home. We might be seeking to educate and encourage the next generation; we may be assisting and supporting the work of an organization, a bank, a university. We study books and pass exams. We make appointments and meet demands. We work whenever we put our hands into the soapy dish water, whenever we pay the bills that stack up on the kitchen desk. And, do not forget, there are other forms of work that are dearly needed. Maybe not often recognized, but still vital, still important: the work of prayer by those of us who now have more time for leisure, the work of writing a card to a friend, the work of supporting the library or food pantry.

Because while our work may seem at times rather unconnected or small, the reality is God is using all of us to play a small part in a large drama. Because while only a few of us may actually work in the field, the invitation is for all of us to work the fields of God’s creation. We are all invited to work together to God’s glory. And, when we do, this is liturgy.

So, yes, do the work that the Lord has called you to do. And when you do it, may the Lord prosper the work of your hands … your heads … your hearts. Do it all week long. Join us on Saturday to do some work together. Then, on the seventh day, on the day of Sabbath, let us gather as a community. Let us gather as bankers and teachers, as do-it-yourself-ers and on-to-new-venture-ers. Let us come, worship, and remember that before we begin our work again, our God is at work in the world … and in our lives. For when we work in the shadow of God, then our work becomes “liturgy.”

Labor on,

Wes

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Acts 5:1-11 - Questions for reflection & prayer

This past Sunday we looked at one of the more unsettling stories in the Book of Acts:  the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira.  As shared by Luke, this couple sold a piece of land and then proceeded to bring only a portion of the profit to the apostles - laying it at their feet for the good of the community.  However, what appeared to be their grave mistake (pun intended) was their collusion in claiming to have brought all the proceeds to the apostles when - in fact - they were keeping some back for themselves.  Peter announces first to Ananias the Lord's judgment, followed by a similar verdict being handed down to Sapphira a short time later.

Seen by itself, this is a strange story, but it begins to make more sense when we see it as "part of the whole."  The story of Ananias and Sapphira comes right after we hear once again of the community's unity and generosity, including their willingness to share their own goods and resources to take care of one another (ch. 4).  Th…

Acts 6:1-6 - Questions for reflection & prayer

As the Holy Spirit empowers the Christian community, new life emerges and new members are added.  This is a beautiful thing, and it is extremely important to point out that this is God's doing.  God is initiating diversity within the Christian community.  However, this also creates new tensions and new challenges.

Acts 6:1-6 gives us our first glimpse of a tension that will extend all the way to chapter 15, until the leaders of the early Church come up with a way to address the growing differences within the Christian family.  Some feel that they are being left out and that others are getting preferential treatment.  The Hellenized Christians feel they are getting the short end of the stick.

All of this is extremely relevant to thoughts and feelings occurring in our own day and age.  Across the spectrum, a majority of Americans feel like they face some form of discrimination.  But, it also points to an ongoing challenge we all face from time to time, the challenges that arise when…

Life in Greencastle: That Greatest Architect

God's peace to all of you on this beautiful Saturday afternoon.  I hope you are enjoying the warm sunshine.  Perhaps you are even still enjoying one last sunset at the beach.
We stayed fairly close to home this Spring Break, taking two short trips, including one to Turkey Run State Park and the other to Columbus, Indiana.  Anna and I had been longing to go to Columbus for quite some time.  Back in the day, we became friends with Emily and Manish Desai in our small apartment complex in Pasadena, both of whom had recently graduated with degrees in architecture from Cal Poly.  Manish would go on to earn his license in architecture and has designed a number of really beautiful spaces, including private residences but also a church out in the desert for a Native American tribe.  Anna and I have always appreciated Manish and Emily's aesthetic, which is why we knew to take note when they started telling us about Columbus, Indaina a number of years ago.  They didn't know much abo…