Have you ever gone to work and your boss was waiting for you by the time card machine? He said nothing until after you took your card from its slot, placed it beneath the time stamp and heard it imprint your card with the time at which moment he broadly smiled and said, “Welcome to work!”. Ok, maybe he was waiting, but said something a little different.
The heavenly Father is never petty or mean spirited. He really does welcome us to work! Working for the Lord is often considered helping a neighbor, giving food to the hungry, sharing the positive difference a personal relationship with Jesus brings to life, etc. There is another dimension to working for the Lord, however.
Commonly referred to as liturgy, it means “the work of the people” in worship. Liturgy summarizes the actions worshippers take to do the work of worship, i.e. confession, thanksgiving, prayers of concern/joy, praise in spoken and sung words and a parting blessing.
The presence of God in corporate worship lifts the spirit, directs the feet, trains the mind, reveals wisdom and understanding, brings healing, and builds community.
Not everyone desires these things, at least from God. Those that do, show up to work, to participate in liturgy. It is their desire not a requirement.
God’s worshippers are open to the work of the Holy Spirit and realize the Spirit blows where He wills filling and moving believers according to the mind and purpose of God the Father.
Every body of believers has a liturgy or pattern of worship. It may be as simple as a greeting, announcements, corporate praise and worship in song, the explanation of a passage of Scripture, prayer and dismissal.
Or, it may follow more details and include printed prayers and confession to help worshippers verbalize their inner thoughts and desires. Either path intends to take those willing to receive whatever God chooses to bestow into His presence.
Farmers are willing to work for a harvest. Worshippers are no different. The former does the work of farming; the latter divine liturgy.
The work of the people in worship “liturgy” demonstrates they are determined to practice their faith gathered and scattered. It gives visible presence to inner faith that God is real, enjoys the companionship of believers, hears their cries of praise and calls for help.
Participation in all forms of liturgy states both an expectation and trust of the people in a great and loving God through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ which makes the person and power of the Holy Spirit operative in and through their lives.
Liturgy. It is the sweet hard work of people like you and me. Tasting worship’s harvest motivates some to work. The promise of a harvest prompts others to work with expectation.
Jesus did not die on the cross for nothing. Nor did He die for Himself. He died and rose on Easter to bring a full life now and forever to those willing to begin a relationship with Him and do the work of the people. Are you in?