Weekly letter from St Luke's - 19 August 2020
Dear Parish Friends
Amongst all the other responses that came from the recent parish survey was a number of comments about a vision that our services should be “joyous occasions – with music and greater parishioner involvement in services while maintaining the more formal sacramental elements within the service.” I believe that our services are joyous occasions, where we meet with each other and with God through Word and Sacrament. Worshipping together is a very different experience to attending the theatre or going to a gig; we are not just passive watchers, but active participants.
In medieval times the congregation seemed largely spectators, standing in the nave whilst the priest in the chancel said the mass in a language that they did not understand. Hence the use of the sanctuary bell to tell people when the important parts of the liturgy were happening. But all were participating, they were the gathered community of God, meeting to commune with God. Nowadays we can all understand what is being said, and join in with the words of prayers and songs of praise, but the unsaid part of our worship together is perhaps the more valuable – our active thoughts, and our just being there. Hence the importance of silence and times for reflection during the service.
The Book of Common Prayer exhorted people to prepare for worship. This I commend to you. I will endeavour to email the notice paper out on Friday in future so that you can read the scriptures set for the day in advance. Think too of what you particularly want to bring in prayer: what is in mind when you say the words of the confession, what do you want to give thanks for, what needs should be remembered?
We are all involved in the services, but perhaps there are further ways in which people could help facilitate our worship:
Help with the children’s ministry. We currently only offer this twice a month.
New people who wish to read or be a liturgical assistant would be welcomed.
Music is an integral part of our services. Suggestions of what we might sing and how would be good to hear (I know that there are already discussions with the choir people about this).
Leading the prayers. In many churches the intercessions (the ‘prayers of the people’) are led by a team of people. I would be delighted if anyone would like to become involved in this ministry and can give training and advice.
Other ideas? Please let me know.
The words of Psalm 19:44, which I pray before I preach, sums up very well the way we all should approach our worship together:
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
With blessings for the week ahead.
Yours in Christ