I have actually had two Sundays in a row not going to church. Scandalous, I know. In weak defence I proffer 'earthquake swarm' and 'travelling exigencies' as reasons for not making it to corporate worship in a building unlikely to fall on my head :) But perhaps, from time to time, a few Sundays away from liturgies reminds me of what liturgies offer. In this case, I have missed the rhythm and order which Sunday liturgies contribute to my life and the life of my family. Then there is the missing factor of the special confrontation liturgy in a corporate setting offers: in the midst of God's people, God is present in a special manner which confronts me with how I am living my life. This past week, I realise, I have lived committing sin and omitting obedience (thankfully liturgy offers confession and absolution). I have not been as attentive as I might to Scripture through my personal reading (thankfully liturgy offers proclamation of God's Word through reading Scripture and preaching). And, certainly, my mind has not thought of all things which could be given thanks for and prayed for (thankfully liturgy offers opportunity for thanksgiving and intercession).
Where the liturgy is a eucharist then there is also opportunity for that which otherwise I am forbidden to experience alone: the symbolic participation in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ through bread and wine in shared feast of thankful memory of Christ dying for the sins of the whole world.
My liturgical hopes for 2011 are simple: let me and others in Christ's body meet with the living God together through what we do and say. And may what is said and done, especially by the leaders of liturgy not (even 'NOT') inhibit that meeting!
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