The word “liturgy” means “work of the people”. It is a church term that refers to the actions that laypeople do to create the church service. Before the Protestant Reformation there was no liturgy. The church service was performed entirely by priests. After the Protestant Reformation the role of consecrating communion was performed by the priest but nearly everything else was often done by members of the congregation. The idea was to make space for people – to make them feel part of the ministry.
I propose that we change the idea of liturgy from meaning the things we do in church to the thing we do as the church. In liturgy we might wear special vestments or carry the Bible or a candle or a cross. How about we do the same things but in a different way – out in the real world? Otherwise, all we are doing in liturgy is play-acting, and that isn’t what God wants of us.
How about instead of wearing special robes we wear what we wear every day and see it as the uniform that we put on to do our work in the world?
How about instead of carrying a Bible in our hands we carry it in our hearts? How about we live it out loud instead of just reading it out loud? Instead of just sharing the Gospel we live it by being the Good News to a hurting world?
How about instead of carrying a candle we carry the light of Christ in our hearts and share that light in a dark world?
How about instead of carrying a cross we help others by carrying theirs? Like how Jesus was aided by Simon of Cyrene to help bear his burden on the way to his crucifixion.
Excellent point, Betsy. I can hear the conservative evangelical chorus of protestation already though: “That sounds too much like making doing good works a requirement of salvation.”
They are the very ones that need to hear the message most. We love – because we were loved. If we are attached to the vine, then we will bear fruit – the fruit of the Spirit. We don’t do good works to get saved – we do good works because we are saved. I like how Jesus said to Peter – “Feed my sheep” – not to play at church – but be church – be the body of Christ in the world. Not by preaching at people, but by actually helping them. I also like the Jewish concept of doing “mitzvahs”. Even if you don’t believe in God, if you do these things, you will have done some good in the world, and that alone can make a life meaningful.