Monday, October 18, 2010

Why I Love Liturgy

A lot of people are unfamiliar with, or have negative views of liturgy.  Liturgy is, according to, "a form of public worship; ritual."  I think that second part is what gets a lot of people.  Ritual... we don't always like ritual with our spirituality.  Sometimes it feels stiff, forced, unauthentic.  But what I'm finding the more I employ liturgy in my personal time with God, and in our corporate time with God at Redemption Hill, is that it is drawing me deeper in my relationship and knowledge of God.  Let me explain.

Often I find that my faith is weak.  Something is lacking, something is disconnected.  I can't always put my finger on it, but often it is the crack in the foundation that leads to later problems.  Slowly I drift, slowly I fall away.  But liturgy helps keep my grounded.  Confessing publicly and corporately every Sunday forces me to consider my faults.  It forces me to accept Christ's pardon, and to view Him as my Savior and Redeemer.  Praying prayers that have been prayed for centuries reminds me of the tradition, and value, of our faith.  This isn't a new trend; it is solid in years of followers.  I am just one of millions who have traveled this path.  I am not alone.  And that is comforting, and sobering.  I realize how God is the main character in this story of life, and I am simply a random extra.  Not that my life doesn't matter, and I should just waste it.  But liturgy reminds me of my fragile state.

I love this quote by Lauren F. Winner in her book Girl Meets God (which I highly recommend):
         "Sometimes, often, prayer feels that way to me, impersonal and unfeeling and not something I've chosen to do.  I wish it felt inspired and on fire and like a real love-conversation all the time, or even just more of the time.  But what I am learning the more I sit with liturgy is that what I feel happening bears little relation to what is actually happening.  It is a great gift when God gives me a stirring, a feeling, a something-at-all in prayer.  But work is being done whether I feel it or not.  Sediment is being laid.  Words of praise to God are becoming the most basic words in my head.  They are becoming the fall back words, drowning out advertising jingles and professors' lectures and sometimes even my own interior monologue.
        Maybe St. Paul was talking about liturgy when he encouraged us to pray without ceasing."

So check out liturgy.  You just might find you like it.

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