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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

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