Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Liturgy as conversation

The church I attend includes a brief reading from the liturgy in the Sunday morning service. I love the words from the Book of Common Prayer, confessing sins and rejoicing in God’s provision as a community.

I read something that resonated with me this week, from two missionaries who teach in a Catholic seminary, Bevans and Schroeder. They write about God’s nature of three-in-one, that “radical communal nature” which ”overflows into an involvement with history [and] aims at drawing humanity and creation in general into this communion with God’s very life.” When I think about that, I read, “God includes us in a conversation with himself.”

About the Church, the authors write: “The identity as members of Christ’s body and sharers in God’s communal life is renewed and re-created as the church celebrates the liturgy, particularly as it celebrates the Eucharist (Lord’s Supper). As Christians participate in communal prayer, singing and ritual action, as they experience their unity through the communion of the one bread and one cup, they are caught up anew in Gods life and his giving.”

I love going to church, saying words that have been said for hundreds of years by farmers, priests, pastors, housewives, merchants, and sailors. I get to be part of an ongoing conversation with God and his family.

These are things every human heart knows: we are separated from God until he draws us to himself. In the way he has chosen, through Christ his Son. He loves us enough to design a way to himself, and to put himself out in nature where we can begin to enjoy his beauty even before we are his friends.

Read more:

* The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you. he drives out the enemy before you; he cries out, "Destroy them!" So Israel will live in safety, prosperous Jacob in security, in a land of grain and new wine, while the heavens drop down dew. Deuteronomy 33:27–28 NEV

*But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn't find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes.

The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, "Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn't here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day."

Then they remembered that he had said this. So they rushed back from the tomb to tell his eleven disciples—and everyone else—what had happened … But the story sounded like nonsense to the men, so they didn't believe it. Luke 24:1–9, 11 NEV

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