"Liturgy is the means that the church uses to keep baptized Christians in living touch with the entire living holy community as it participates formationally in Holy Scripture." - Eugene Peterson
The 'liturgy' or order of our worship is consistent, passed through the ages. It centers on God's word, as we find it in the scriptures and the sacraments of the church. Even as some elements change to acknowledge the passing seasons, the shape of the liturgy is relatively unchanged. I want to offer a few notes that may help enrich your participation in our liturgy.
First, do not underestimate the power of arriving early. Our culture leaves us rushing from one thing to the next. If you can find a way to arrive a few minutes early to get situated it will magnify your experience of everything that follows. Perhaps this will be a Lenten discipline for some?
The Celebrant guides the worship. Watching the celebrant helps one to know when to sit, stand or kneel. They also guide the pace of worship. Listening to the celebrant, along with those close to you helps us pray together, rather than simply in the same space.
Music enriches our worship in many ways. Here at Ascension we are blessed with a dedicated choir, talented direction and musicality as well as with an instrument that further enhances what is offered. Music can add to the synchronicity of worship, uniting our voices and connecting our hearts rhythm. The power of music is sometimes palpable, particularly after an anthem or solo. We may be accustom to applauding for a performance, however these works are offered as worship. Awed, reverent silence is more appropriate in worship. Expressing your appreciation for a piece to the choir or soloist following worship is also meaningful.
There is more to note about our liturgy than can fit in one post, next week I will offer a few more notes, particularly on receiving the sacraments.