Sunday, November 3, 2019
At odds with God's intention. . .
Like a child who peers into a toy store in the days before Christmas, the Mass or Divine Service (pick your name) allows us to glimpse the future God has prepared for us. But better than the child who is left to his dreams as he views with wide eyes all that glitters, we are invited into this moment in time where eternity is present and we are given the taste of heaven in the bread which is His body and the cup of His blood. It is heaven on earth.
The typical view of modern liturgy is that we do the work and God is the watcher. The historical view of the Mass or Divine Service is that God is doing the work and we are both watchers and invited participants. We are the people of God for whom all of this exists. So we are not the actors who eagerly await His divine approval nor are we spectators who watch and applaud the show. We are those who watch and who enter into the Divine Mystery by hearing the efficacious Word of God read and preached, by recalling our baptism into Christ when we died and were raised to the new life that death cannot end, and by tasting the goodness of the Lord in the flesh of Christ and the blood of Christ hidden but really present in bread and wine.
We know what is coming so the Mass or Divine Service begins with the confiteor. We confess that we are unworthy to be there at all, stained by sin so that we should not even dare to ask to watch. But God in His great mercy welcomes the unworthy through the grace of absolution and sets the Table of the Lord in the presence of this world and all the enemies of the Kingdom. Then in the introit comes the invitation to come into the presence and the entrance rite of introit, Kyrie, and Gloria leads us to the collect where we ask in prayer for the promises to be heard in the pericopes of the day. Instructed in the divine and saving Word and having had the saving acts of Christ brought again to our joyful remembrance, we are ready to offer the sacrifices of praise, thanksgiving, tithes, and offerings. Then we are deliberately brought into the sublime moment when Christ, true to His Word and promise, as Host and Victim, delivers to us the food of the Kingdom -- His flesh and blood in bread and wine. We adore Him first by singing His praise and then by eating and drinking in faith. What can be added to this wondrous grace except a quick thanksgiving song and prayer only to be sent forth in the world as His people doing His bidding with His name and blessing upon us as we depart to fulfill our vocation.
Friends, if this is NOT what you think is happening on Sunday morning, you need to review the Word, relearn the Catechism, and discover the doctrine in the liturgy. Because Sunday morning is nothing short than God delivering heaven on earth for a foretaste and preview of what is to come -- to keep us in the way, holy and blameless so that we may meet Him when He comes and enter into the joy of our Master forevermore. When the modern liturgical movement chose to emphasize accessibility and simplicity and the work of the people, we were betrayed and Sunday morning began to be more about us than about the God who bids us come and delivers to us a glimpse of forever within a moment in time.