Liturgy is practice of the church gathered. It is what we do together when we worship as a congregation. It is, “the work of the people.”
I have been going through the last few weeks as a layperson for the first time. Three years ago, I went through the season of Easter anticipating entering my first pastorate. I was called, but not yet installed. So there is a difference this year than there was then.
I have discovered that “the work of the people” is just that: work.
I have been surprised by how difficult it has been for me to be as centered in the events and goings on of Holy Week this year. As a pastor or worship leader, the events of Easter consumed all of my thought from just about Thanksgiving on. How was I going to lead the church or help lead the church? I had the benefit of thinking through everything for weeks and months.
I had been thinking through this year, as well. But this time none of it is coming to fruition. This time, I am following what someone else has planned. I don’t have the benefit of all of the thoughts going ahead of time.
And that makes the worship hard. I have to be intentional. I have to come into the service with some sense of expectation. I have to come ready to give whatever is asked of me, not knowing just what it is I will be asked to give.
Sort of like life with God, come to think of it.
When I come back to leading church again, I hope I do not lose this perspective of the work of the people. I hope I will remember that I will be asking people to do things that they are willing to do (they have come, after all), but they have no preparation, no long thoughts. For them, all of the work is in the moment. Sometimes, work is distracting. Always, work is hard.
It is liturgy. It is worship. God is worth it.