My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to love as Christ loved does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore, I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. ~ Thomas Merton
Vocation is one of those words Lutherans like to use. Luther taught that each of us has a vocation, or calling, it’s not something reserved for priests, monks and nuns. It can be lived out in the midst of ordinary life. True vocation is that passion I spoke about in my last post. In Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Filled Life when he asked the question, “What on earth am I here for?” Each of us has to answer that question, hopefully in a prayerful way, in order to discover our vocation.
“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.