One of the words, which belongs to worship, is liturgy. Liturgy is everything we say and do in the sanctuary. It is the Invocation, Offering, Hymns, and Ministry of Silence. It is everything we find in the bulletin, and everything we do that is not even listed.
Liturgy means “the work of the people” because we worship together. It is a joint venture, a group project! The ministers do not perform the liturgy, while the congregation watches. The ministers and congregation perform the liturgy together by singing and praying, listening and responding. As we worship together, God is watching.
I have heard the word liturgy differently, as the pews have been empty during quarantine. It is difficult to walk into our sanctuary and not imagine the faces of the congregation, even when no one is there; but with the room empty, it does call us to see the broader liturgy of our lives.
If the Invocation invites God into worship, we also invite God to join us in our daily lives. As we bring our offerings to the sanctuary, we are also offering each day as a gift to God for all we have received. As we all sing our parts of the hymn, we recognize how our daily lives create a larger tapestry of faith throughout our community. As we find God in the Ministry of Silence, we are called to hear God’s presence in the pauses of each week. Our liturgy, or “the work of the people”, has continued to take place, even as we have been apart!
We are not sure when we will be able to gather in person for worship, but when we do, we know it will look different. We might wear masks or sit six feet apart. We might not have a choir or shake hands with others. We will sit in a familiar space, but it might feel unfamiliar at first.
I take comfort in knowing that the true work of the people continues to take place. We will continue to live stream worship, even after we gather in person, allowing everyone to connect with the community of faith.
We will continue to participate in the joint venture of worship. We will allow the grace of God to do its work. We will yield to the hope of God and listen for the calling to love our neighbor. We will share in the goodness of God, which finds us wherever we are!