Devotional Thought of the Day:
14 When I think of the greatness of this great plan I fall on my knees before God the Father (from whom all fatherhood, earthly or heavenly, derives its name), and I pray that out of the glorious richness of his resources he will enable you to know the strength of the spirit’s inner re-inforcement – that Christ may actually live in your hearts by your faith. And I pray that you, firmly fixed in love yourselves, may be able to grasp (with all Christians) how wide and deep and long and high is the love of Christ – and to know for yourselves that love so far beyond our comprehension. May you be filled though all your being with God himself!
20 Now to him who by his power within us is able to do far more than we ever dare to ask or imagine – to him be glory in the Church through Jesus Christ for ever and ever, amen! Ephesians 3:14-20 (Phillips NT)
77 You told me that to tie yourself to a plan of life, to a schedule, would be so monotonous! And I answered, “It is monotonous because you lack love.”
It is sometimes. Ver much so more than I would like to admit.
It doesn’t matter if it is a high powered contemporary service, or a organ blasting traditional service, or a small intimate worship time on a retreat.
Church services can be boring, even monotonous,
And while the pastor and those who music facilitates our praises can impede or encourage worship, there is one key that absolutely makes the difference in whether you find a church and the worship service.
I’ve seen couples where one is completely engaged in worship, one is actively engaged, and talks about church as the high point of their week. The spouse, however, was so disengaged that they eventually fell asleep.
What makes the difference in perception is the person.
St Josemaria says it well, it is monotonous because of the truth of this, you lack love.
And if you lack love, there are two options, you are unable to love God and others, or what is necessary to love him, you haven’t been immersed in the reality of HIs love for you. You haven’t had the opportunity, as St Paul desired for you, to explore the incredible dimensions of that love for you.
Not just know the love as a piece of data, because you can’t fully, it is so far beyond our comprehension, You need to be filled with that love, you need to be filled with God.
And that is the purpose of a church service, to help you explore that depth, and those who lead are simply guides on the journey. Guides who hopefully are still in awe of the same journey, pointing out this treasured point, and that, how this explores the heights, and that explores the depths.
For if you know how incredible God’s love is for you,
And when you do, the hunger to more will help you engage, to enter the service as a participant as we dance with God, rather than being an observer. For everyone has a part in worship, every voice has its role, a part in the service. It’s not just about the guys up there in robes, We are just there to point you to the love that God has for you, the incredible love that makes a difference in every aspect of your life.
So when you come into a church, expect something special, expect to hear you are loved, listen for it, rejoice in it, walk in it, even dance in it, and then love and adore the God who loves you.
The same service will never be the same.
Escriva, Josemaria. The Way (Kindle Locations 339-340). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Devotional Thought of the Day:
15 While He was reclining at the table in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were also guests with Jesus and His disciples, because there were many who were following Him. 16 When the scribes m of the Pharisees saw that He was eating p with sinners q and tax collectors, r they asked His disciples, “Why does He eat s with tax collectors and sinners?”
17 When Jesus heard this, He told them, “Those who are well don’t need a doctor, but the sick do need one. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:15-17
In revising the Roman office, its ancient and venerable treasures are to be so adapted that all those to whom they are handed on may more extensively and easily draw profit from them.
It is one of the great paradoxes of Christianity, those who think Jesus wouldn’t associate with them are the very ones He came to unite to himself. And those, who think they are spiritually adept often miss out on the blessing.
I dare say that our liturgies have for too long aided and abetted this problem. The look and sound more like the pious Pharisee than the broken tax-collector. The content of our services, from the mass to vespers and then compline need to be in the language that is profitable, that is beneficial for those broken by the weight of sin. It needs to resonate with their soul and reveal to them the love and mercy of God, their God, who would have them dwell in peace.
I think those at Vatican II and those who influenced the council’s deliberations were starting to see this. That the liturgy was for all the people of God, not just those who knew the right actions, the right words, and could repeat them without knowing the power of their meaning. ( I wish my own small part of Christianity would follow suit, but I fear it is heading away from such thoughts)
We desperately need to be formed by the word of God in our prayers, in our liturgy. And by we, I don’t mean those on the membership roster of our church and the churches we trust. It means all the people of God, those He died for, those He is drawing to himself, those who may fight now, only to be baptized tomorrow. The people of God include all who don’t believe God’s mercy is available to them, for in their humility, they will receive it. Those who think they are good enough already, why would they bother? The liturgy can cause us to really cry out for His mercy, and express praise and wonder at God’s love seen as Jesus was slaughtered like a lamb, that we might live.
If the word is to form us, we have to be able to understand it, simply and without a dictionary, lexicon, and thesaurus by our side. This message is to needed, to precious, to amazing to conceal it with elaborate words, and movements that have no meaning because they are not know, not explained, not heard.
We all, from the youngest to the oldest, from every continent and country, from every economic group, language group, everyone, needs to know that Jesus came for us all. It is really a simple concept, one spoken originally in simple Hebrew, Aramaic, and common Greek. We can and show do the same today so that the people God draws to us will know Him, as the Spirit reveals Him to them through our words, our music, our liturgy.
As we finalize our words for the Christmas celebration, may we do so, and may all those the Spirit draws near profit from them. AMEN!
Catholic Church. “Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy: Sacrosanctum Concilium.” Vatican II Documents. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2011. Print.