liturgia - a public works project

The mark of Liturgia literally means “ a work of the people”. In the ancient Roman world aqueducts were liturgical structures, that is, public works. Christian worship is a public work that is intended to benefit the world that the church inhabits. Christian worship is not a consumer activity meant to meet the needs of those who gather to worship. Those who worship gather to offer themselves to God on behalf of the world and to be sent into the world as Jesus’ servants on behalf of God. The early Christian community renamed Sunday as the Lord’s Day (often calling it the Eighth Day of Creation – an entirely new day of the week) as a constant reminder that Christian worship is the praise and response of a people whose life together is rooted in the startling, transforming Resurrection news of Easter Sunday. On Sunday the church brings with it the harsh truth about the world’s Good Friday ache and grief as well as its Holy Saturday longing and despair. Then, in Word and Sacrament, it meets the Easter God who, in Jesus Christ, brings to birth a new creation (II Corinthians 5:17). Here the gospel is revealed to be both intensely personal and radically social. Nothing and no one is beyond God’s power to raise from the dead. God’s glory is revealed when the liturgy is a performance of this gospel drama and when the gathered congregation are its actors.

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