In preparing for Sunday’s sermon, I have a great computer program that searches my electronic library. In regards tot he passage from 1 Corinthians 6, this was one of the citations:
“11. But in order that the liturgy may be able to produce its full effects, it is necessary that the faithful come to it with proper dispositions, that their minds should be attuned to their voices, and that they should cooperate with divine grace lest they receive it in vain28. Pastors of souls must therefore realize that, when the liturgy is celebrated, something more is required than the mere observation of the laws governing valid and licit celebration; it is their duty also to ensure that the faithful take part fully aware of what they are doing, actively engaged in the rite, and enriched by its effects.[i]
It was never meant to be a spectator sport, where the people of God just get to observe the movements, and listen to the music and sermon. It is far more like a wedding dance, where God leads, we follow, and our eyes are glued to Jesus, even as a bride cannot take her eyes off her husbands. Where we are amazed at the grace, the incredible fluid nature of the blessings He pours out on us, on the way He enjoys the life He has given us, the life He shares with us.
If you are a pastor – help people to realize what they have – help them, guide them in their participation. The same advice I would give choirs and praise teams, Ministers of Worship and Cantors, ushers and greeters, and all who serve.
If you are a visitor or a long time member – don’t hesitate to ask what this part of the service is, why we do this or that. The answer make day a bit – but you will be encouraging others to know what we do, why we do it, as well.
And in all things – may we encourage, may we lift people up, that they may never receive the grace of God in vain.
For the Lord is with you!