Friday, 9 August 2019

The Walking Liturgy

It was time for a hospital call.  I was sitting in my car in front of the building.  I put on my clerical collar and asked the Lord to accomplish His work through me, even overcoming all my weakness as a pastor.  And then He reminded me of something that is true for every Christian – collar or not – pastor or not – “You are my chosen servant.  I am always using you, whether you realize it or not.  You are a walking liturgy.”

Hunh.  I was pleasantly surprised.  I left the car and approached the hospital.  “You are a walking liturgy,” came the echo in my mind.  There were people coming down the other side of the sidewalk, and I found myself praying, “Remind them Father.  Remind them of Your grace.  Make my presence a reminder of Your gracious message to everyone who sees me.”  I noticed my attention was different than normal.  I cared about the people who passed me.  I looked them in the eye.  I greeted them with my presence.  Grace started and ended my perspective with each of them.  I received a lot of smiles.  Many more headnods.  And a certain number of verbal greetings.  I understood I was there on behalf of the Lord, and that I was there for whomever the walking liturgy brought me beside.

This is true because I’m baptized.  It’s true for every baptized believer.  St. Peter says believers are a holy priesthood who offer spiritual sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:5).  St. Paul says, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

The liturgy doesn’t end on Sunday morning.  It doesn’t end with the Benediction.  It continues in your life as you carry it out with your body wherever you go.  This is the liturgical life.  A life that flows in and out of the Divine Service on Sunday, but that carries that eternal kingdom into all the places you are.  

It is happening whether you realize it or not, so why not pay attention to it?  Why not remember it?  Why not benefit from it?  Enjoy it?  The Christian life, the life of faith, is one of growing with the Lord on this walk.  He is always ready to remind you this is what He is doing through you.  Always ready to hear your prayer.  Always ready to tell you, “You are a walking liturgy,” because His Son has created this new kingdom for you by His own blood.  It is a kingdom of grace, rooted in His Word and Sacrament, growing out into every waking moment in which you live and move and have your being.  This is what it means to be part of the holy priesthood.  You are His, and He gives you to others.

Father in heaven, don't let me forget Your promises.  Hold them before me all the time.  Give me Your Spirit that I may give attention to what You are carrying out through me.  Help me remember Your faithfulness in Christ and see those around me as You do.  Always bring me back to Your Word and Sacrament for rest.  In Jesus' Name, Amen.