The very center of everything we do and are at Holy Apostles is the Parish Eucharist. It is where we gather to praise, adore, and worship God. It is where we hear the word of God proclaimed and made manifest in Word and Sacrament. It is where we come to know and experience first-hand the whole meaning of God’s self-revelation in Jesus Christ. In our liturgical expression through the season we express the movement of the whole Christ-event and our response to it, most poignantly in our Holy Week liturgies.
But in every single Eucharist, we also proclaim the mystery and majesty of Christ’s incarnation, ministry, passion and death, and resurrection. Our liturgy is our center, and everything else we may be and do comes from that center. If our liturgy is as important as this, it goes without saying that in it we need to offer our very best, for it is our offering of sacrifice and praise to the God who created us and who through Christ has redeemed us and who through the Holy Spirit sanctifies us.
We talk all too glibly of our offering of time, talent, and treasure, all too often assuming the last is what we really mean to focus on. Not so here. We offer the very best we can muster, we prepare, we care, we express through our vestments, our choreography (or dance, for that is what it is), our spoken word, our music, the faith that is within us. That faith is not expressed by uptightness, by being precious, by being removed from the congregation. It is real, human, warm, engaged, with a twinkle in the eye and the Holy Spirit within our hearts.
There is an Anglican balance between the formal and the solemn, and the informal. We can be formal, especially on those occasions in which it is particularly appropriate. But we can also be quite relaxed, showing ourselves to be having a good time and communicating joy and a sense of humor. We can express and be who we are, for that is what God calls us to be.
Being involved in making the liturgy happen is a great privilege. It can be profoundly moving and a real blessing. Over the course of the years, the overwhelming majority who are deeply involved in the liturgy have found their faith growing and deepening by that participation and experience. It is our prayer that all of us responsible for the liturgy at Holy Apostles will not only give of our very best in leading worship here, but that we will all be moved and strengthened by our work. Each person — in the congregation or in the chancel — helps to make, with God’s grace and blessing, our liturgy all that it can be at Holy Apostles.