Brooks: Making the Liturgy stick
Justin Brooks (email)
“Liturgy” is a word we use to describe our response of worship as a community for the things God has done and is doing amongst us. A popular translation of it is “the work of the people” or “public work.” This brings to mind images of us binding our hearts together as one for a higher purpose.
In fact, the very first thing we say together in a service is a prayer asking God to “cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may love you…” Throughout the rest of the service, we read Scripture together, sing, pray for the world and each other, confess our sins, and ultimately receive Communion as one people.
This is right and good to experience in a service, but as we all know, we have to leave that place and scatter across the Metroplex to go back to work on Monday. So this begs the question; How do we make the liturgy stick in our everyday lives? How do we have these prayers and “oneness” we experience on Sunday follow us in such a way that is common to us all?
One helpful way that I apply in my own life and that Father Paul alluded to in one of his posts, is learning to sing the liturgy from our worship services, allowing us to take it with us in our hearts to worship with during the week.
There are reasons we know all the lyrics to our favorite and not-so-favorite songs; because at certain times and places, significant events occur to make us want to hear this song over and over, whether joy, heartbreak, or having a good time with close friends.
In the same way, generations past have allowed music and hymns sung in church to become so ingrained in their hearts, that it can be a comfort in times of trouble and joy. In our Uptown services, we have introduced new arrangements of liturgical prayers, from our own original settings of Hymns And Psalms, the Song Of Simeon, to the Magnificat.
Most recently, the songs on which we have focused are arranged by worship leader, Glenn Packiam from his latest album, “The Mystery Of Faith”, an entire album inspired by the 1979 Book Of Common Prayer. If you have attended Uptown, you will have heard us singing and worshiping to “The Lord Be With You”, “We Confess”, and “The Mystery Of Faith.” As we learn these together, I would encourage all of us to download these tracks as tools for us to use in allowing these words to take root in us.
The great theologian, Bono of U2, once said “Music can change the world because it can change people.” That is what we ask God to do through these songs; that he would begin shaping and changing our hearts in such a way that words of worship are constantly dwelling within.