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The Mystery that Underlies Worship, and Makes it Worth It!

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Devotional Thought of the day:

7  No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began.
1 Corinthians 2:7 (NLT2)

Christianity is both. It is full of mysteries like the Trinity, creation, the Incarnation, atonement, providence, and eschatology. In fact, it is the most mysterious religion in the world. It is not at all obvious, not what we would expect. That is what all the heresies have been: what the human mind naturally expected. Yet Christianity is also supremely simple. John was right. There is, in the last analysis, only one thing: the love of God.

Here is common ground for a discussion of the structure of liturgy. Strictly speaking we should say that liturgy, of its nature, has a festal character.2 If we can agree on this starting point, the issue then becomes: What makes a feast a feast? Evidently, for the view in question, the festal quality is guaranteed by the concrete “community” experience of a group of people who have grown together into this community.

As much as I hate the idea of worship wars, or the ability of both sides to ignore the blessings of their perceived antagonists, I love to talk about worship. Even more, I love worshipping God, with his people.  It can be done with choirs and pipe organs, it can be done with a band and people facilitating the singing of the congregation, it is done with a half dozen people and a guitar.  Or people singing acapella.

There is no need for worship wars, not when there is so much to celebrate, as the people of God are gathered together.

This is the point that Pope Benedict speaks of, this moment where the community is formed. The feast is not because of the many incredible mysteries we fail to completely understand.  Those mysteries, which Kreeft lists, are mere supplements to the true mystery, the truth that binds us all together.

What one thing Peter Kreeft says is the only thing. the love of God! (for us!)

This is our ultimate glory, this is our ultimate joy, this is what we celebrate, for as it is revealed, as the truth of it sets up inside our souls, worship and celebration is the result.

If we are more focused on the realization that God loves us, this staggering, beyond the experience of being truly loved, then worship is empowered to be something more than a pattern, a habit, a time set aside to make sure we are good with God.

It becomes a dance… it becomes a life-giving time of restoration and healing. It becomes the core of our worship, more important than being liturgical or contemporary. More important than being perfect, for all that falls aside with this thought.

“we are loved!”

Heavenly Father, as You gather us together, help us to remember this glorious truth.  All we shall hear, say, sing, pray, and even our silence, Lord, may we realize that You love us.  AMEN!

Peter Kreeft, The God Who Loves You (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004), 35.

Joseph Ratzinger, The Feast of Faith: Approaches to a Theology of the Liturgy, trans. Graham Harrison (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986), 62–63.

An Incredible Prayer, Disguised as a Camp Song

Devotion of the Day

My first reaction was to wonder when he learned the song that was being sung with the enthusiasm that can only be generated within the heart of a five year old.

KUMMM BY  YAAAAAA my Lord… KKKKKKKKKumn by YAAAAAAA

My immediate reaction was to think ill thoughts of whoever taught him that camp song!  And I thought of all who mocked the song, at first agreeing with them in my mind.  Especially as I heard my five year old – feeling much better after two days of being sick, sing it with all of his might. (and if you know him…. well – you can picture this.)

I eventually thought back to my youth, to when the song was actually popular and not mocked, and I remembered the translation of the song.  Someone’s singing/crying/working/praying LORD BE WITH US. ( or literally Come by hear!)

As I thought of these words, it became apparent to me, this simple song, once written by a simple people who knew desperation, who knew anxiety, who knew pain, is truly a very deep hymn – one of great comfort and deep spiritual truth.  For no matter the vocation, no matter the action, it is always appropriate to cling to the One who is here – to cry out to Him, asking Him to reveal Himself – for He is always here… always ready to respond always ready to care and bring mercy and peace.

Kumbaya is simply another way of praying the Kyrie – another way of reaching out and realizing we were not alone..for He is with us.

May we cry out both, in sincerity and in recognition of our need, and may we know we have been heard….

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