“A Christian fellowship lives and exists by the intercession of its members for one another, or it collapses. I can no longer condemn or hate a brother for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me. His face, that hitherto may have been strange and intolerable to me, is transformed in intercession into the countenance of a brother for whom Christ died, the face of a forgiven sinner.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community
The song Michele posted, reminded me of this one, also about our relationship with Jesus and the church.
“The liturgy of the Word is prayer. You pray the scriptures with, and for, the people assembled and the words go out to them, touching them in ways that only God can imagine.”
The congregation I belong to, St. Paul’s Free Lutheran, is liturgical. I wouldn’t want it any other way. Liturgy, in Greek, means “work of the people.” It’s something we participate in together, the body of Christ in this place. If prayer is communicating with God, the liturgy is also prayer. In the familiar words, many of them directly from the Scripture we confess to God, we sing His praises, and thank Him. We intercede for others. We offer our gifts for His use.
God speaks to us as well through the reading and sermons. He offers us forgiveness and the gift of His body and blood to strengthen us. He sends us out with renewed minds and spirits to do His work in the world. Here’s a quote by Thomas Merton which reminds me of what the liturgy does:
“….(prayer) is the needle by which we draw the thread of charity through out neighbor’s soul and our own soul and sew ourselves together in one Christ.”
Through the liturgy God weaves us into a community. It doesn’t matter if we are old or young, rich or poor, black or brown or white, educated or ignorant, for this brief time we become one in Christ and it changes us. It changes us because when we pray together, we become God’s kingdom on earth.
How does your worship experience change you? Please send us your comments.