So I spent a weekend with some wonderful folks in Geneva, IL a couple of weeks ago. And it was delightful. They were all a part of the body of believers that gather at Saint Mark's Episcopal Church, or "Saint Markers," as they affectionately call themselves.
Saint Mark's is an extraordinary place, with sacred worship spaces, warm and inviting people, a deep and rich communal life, and a beautiful and thoughtful liturgy. I had been to a few Anglican and Episcopal churches before, so the dance that I saw (and had the privilege of entering into) at Saint Mark's was not totally new to me, but one I don't often get to enjoy. There was a sense of awe and wonder and reverence at Saint Mark's that I have not often experienced in my forty-one years of following Jesus. We stood and we sang and we knelt and we prayed. We bowed and we read and we listened and we passed the peace. And at the very center of it all was the Cross of Christ and the Table of our Lord. We came to the rail and knelt at the altar and opened our hands to receive the Body and drink the Blood and remember the death of our Savior; and thus enter into the mysteries of the Holy Sacrament. It was rich and wonderful time.
It got me thinking about liturgy in general, and how each of us has the opportunity, if not the obligation, to write our own, both for ourselves and for our own communities of faith. We are the ones--with God's help and guidance--who get to determine what we will do in our worship. We get the privilege and the responsibility to listen closely to God, and to how he made us, and to craft a liturgy that makes us alive and vibrant as we live our lives with, for, and before him. We get to decide what best expresses our worship and adoration. We get to decide when we will kneel and when we will pray. We get to determine when (or if) we will sing and when we will dance. We get to be the artists of this incredible masterpiece of worship; all aimed at glorifying the One who breathed us into being. We are the ones who are given the freedom to decide what our lives--both together and separately--will look like. Oh, it might not look exactly like it does at Saint Mark's, but it will be a beautiful and thoughtful and intentional expression of who God made us to be. So let's pick up that pen and start writing.