Liturgy for the Modern Church

When growing up in the United Methodist Church, I heard numerous liturgies every Sunday.  I thought these liturgies were not only boring, but had nothing to do with me.  These were the antiquated words of long-dead patristic leaders who had no idea about what I needed or how my prayers should be worded.  After I left the church for a number of years, I came back with a new theology and a new appreciation for liturgy.  It was ironic that, although my theology had become more progressive, my appreciation for liturgy and ritual was heightened.  I had grown to see liturgy as the words of a community who had similar needs and an occasional common lack of words for prayer.

For me, liturgy has become a way of creating sacred space amidst the ordinary.  Since we do not know exactly what God is or what God’s essence is, we are left to our imaginative devices.  One image I have of God is a deep dark lake that sometimes engulfs us, sometimes fills us, and sometimes is near us.  Liturgy then, as I see it, is like blowing on the surface of that body of water with the hope that the ripples will spread and have a positive effect, all the way longing for even a single drop to come up and touch us.

God being the mystery that God is, it is sometimes difficult to know what to say to such a God.  It is hard to know how to craft a liturgy that speaks to such a God and experience that God.  Living in an age of post-Christendom where many people do not feel that going to church is a necessity and deny the trinitarian theology of their youth, how can we still help people experience God through liturgy?  I think that we have the need for a progressive liturgy that touches people even today.  Many churches, such as the large non-denominational evangelical churches, have done away with liturgy and come to see it as irrelevant for people today.  I disagree.  I think that we should write a liturgy that reflects our beliefs, therefore helping us to experience God in honesty and depth.  Stay tuned for some of those liturgies . . .

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