As you may know, the word, liturgy, comes from the Greek words, laos meaning “people” and ergos meaning “work.” Thus, liturgy is often described as the work of the people. Too often, the church has been content to see worship as the sum total of its work. We go to church. We are members of a church. Even our ubiquitous community signs, “The Episcopal Church Welcomes You” betray an inward orientation: come to us.
However, when I travel our diocese and visit you, I see a different church emerging. I see a church focused beyond four walls. I see the work of the people manifesting in clusters of personalities doing simple, yet life-giving things. I see individuals stepping out in ways that are both holy and vulnerable.
All of this is the work of the church. All of this is the of body of Christ breathing new life into God’s creation. The work of the church is liturgy. It is prayers and worship in our sanctuaries. And it is your daily acts as a part of the body: a kind word spoken at the right moment, a simple “how are you,” to a cashier, a gracious moment in rush-hour traffic—all these things can have a positive impact that ripples throughout another person’s life. And what are our lives but a series of moments?
In this season, we celebrate the work of the church as we find ways to be the body of Christ in this changing time and place. Acts of mission are like seeds. When you spread them and nurture them, they grow. Let us gather to pray. Let us go forth to serve. Let us be the church!
Shortly after the resurrection, Jesus was walking down a long road when he ran into two strangers. These strangers did not recognize Jesus. How could they? Jesus had died, been buried, and, just hours earlier, risen from the dead. The stunning story of Christ’s death had spread, and these two travelers did not yet believe […]
For five days in late May of this year, I had the privilege of gathering with other seminarians at the annual Preaching in Excellence conference hosted by the Episcopal Preaching Foundation (EPF). For 35 years, the EPF has been educating Episcopal seminarians and clergy on the benefits of great preaching. Four of my fellow Sewanee […]
One of the interesting aspects of working in a diocesan office is an awareness of the trends across congregations in various locales. Of course, each congregation is unique in many ways, but we are each part of the same tradition, in the same diocese. Because of that, trends become quickly apparent. One of those emerges […]