On Liturgy and Worship 5 – The Gospel

It’s Thursday, and I haven’t written anything yet this week.  Not that I haven’t started, or at least, tried to start.

But nothing seemed right.

How do you talk about the Truth?

How do you talk about a story that destroys all other stories?  A story that every other story tries to be?  A story that is the only one that can lay claim to Truth?

The world has a million narratives that want to explain why things are the way they are and the way that they were Created To Be.

All of them are preparations for the Gospel.  All of them bow before the only True “meta-narrative.”  (To borrow a phrase from post-modernism.)

How do I write about the story that re-wrote me?  That exposed my lies and excised them with all the terrible sharpness and mercy of a scalpel?  How do I write about the Word that spoke comfort into that wound and bound it up with perfect gentleness?  How do I tell the story that became my story with the healing?

I struggle to find words because, beneath all the “stories” about Jesus and His followers in the New Testament readings each Sunday we find poetry, and I’m not much of a poet.  These texts are the song that the Father sings over us as on a day of Jubilee!  They not only tell about the Jubilee.  These words create the Jubilee.  God speaks our deliverance and restoration into being through the texts of the New Testament.

For too long, I could only relate to the New Testament on a very human level.  I could read the words and connect to the human beings I found there, and thanks be to God for that.  Part of the mystery and wonder of the God Who Saves is that He did it, does it, through entirely human beings.  But in those days I couldn’t hear the poetry.  I  couldn’t hear the angel-song that undergirds it all.  I couldn’t recognize that all the songs of my heart were in fact His songs seeking to find union again with the First Singer, and that those songs were singing to me from the pages of the New Testament.

Sometimes the songs are as gentle as Brahm’s lullaby.  Sometimes as fierce as a hurricane, obliterating everything in me that isn’t founded on Rock.  But they are all songs that pour forth from the place in me that sighs with sighs too deep for words. 

And just as God spoke Creation into being with a word, it is the Word who speaks me into new being.  Nothing is lost, but everything is re-ordered.  Those bits of me that had been mis-directed, seeking to fulfill their purpose without reference to the Word, are converted, turned back to their true direction.  Those bits that have grown weak through neglect or misuse grow strong again, and my giftings begin to manifest themselves again.

And, heaven help me, I get pretty silly.

We’re not supposed to laugh in church, right?   Least of all at the reading of the Gospel!  And yet, that’s what I want to do as God reveals His victory over the lies of the enemy.  I want to dance before Him like kids in a mosh pit.  I’m sure there are moments where my Divine Lover and I will enter into a pas de deux of sublime beauty, but I guess I’m not there yet.  When I hear His song, I want to stomp like the cloggers in Appalachia.  I want to shake like a marionette dangling from a washing machine that’s out of balance on the spin cycle. 

This Word brings me to the place of worship.  That worship will manifest itself in different ways as the Eucharist proceeds.  (And I’m realizing now that not all of them are appropriate for every worshiper every week… )  But this is the Word that shreds the veil and opens the Holy of Holies to you and me. 

Tremble.  With awe.  With joy.

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