Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Do you want to get more?

Do you want to get more out of Sunday morning?  Do you want to expand and elevate your experience of the Divine Service?  While I hope no one would say these are not important, I understand that there are a host of things working against us as we come together around the Word and Table of the Lord.  So what can a person do to enhance their experience of the Divine Service?

Sing. . .

Yes, sing.  The most basic part of what improves our worship experience is participation and the most obvious participation is to sing.  Though God is the one who is acting, we are not spectators. We are there to receive and to respond.  Liturgy means work on behalf of others.  It is not our work that is center but God's and this He does through the means of grace yet that does not mean we do not respond.  Singing is a gift of God and its primary blessing is in the Divine Service.  Singing is how we engage with the text and singing is how we echo on earth the angels praise to God above.  Don't just stand there, sing.  The voice that God gave you becomes a gift and a blessing when we give it back to Him.

Watch the words. . . 

Words matter.  The words of the liturgy are not by chance but by design.  Pay attention to them.  Listen as you sing or speak them or as they are sung or spoken into your ears.  Worship is not about feelings but about the objective and profound acts of God's mighty deliverance in Christ and the fruits of that redeeming work.  That is the context and content of the liturgy.  Its order and flow and words and actions matter.  They work together.  Follow along and take what was said and sung with you home.

Be patient. . .

One of the hardest things we do in the Divine Service is to slow down the pace of our thoughts and our lives and live according to the Word.  Of course, we have places to go and people to see but here is where we confront those things that do not matter and those things that matter most.  Patience means we are not driving the action or the clock -- it is God working for us through through the means of grace and His fullness of time that lay before us.  We meet Christ not simply in the eating and drinking of the Holy Communion but all the way through.  The voice that absolves, the Word that is read, the Gospel that is preached, the praises bidden and rendered, and the blessing that sends us forth are all Christ for us and among us -- though certainly the climactic event is receiving the Body and the Blood.

Finally, remember. . . 

Too soon we rise, the vessels disappear;    
The feast, though not the love, is past and gone;
The bread and wine remove, but Thou art here;
Nearer than ever; still my shield and sun.
The Divine Service comes to an end but not its grace and blessing in us.  It remains.  The forgiveness.  The life.  The Salvation.  All that we have received from His giving love accompany us.  Remember this when you feel alone, overwhelmed, despair, or sorrow.  And the longing for the Lord's House and presence that we take from the Divine Service is fulfilled again.  And again.  And again, until it is fulfilled eternally on high.  Remember this.

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