November 30, 2012

Work of the People

Liturgy means work of the people.  Vox gathers weekly for our liturgy, to share in the work of our people.

Several weeks ago, my friend in Seattle tweeted, “The problem with the modern Church is that we have too many people pretending they are guests when they need to be hosts.”  In reading this, I wondered if Vox’s liturgy is filled with guests receiving or hosts sharing in the work of the people.

The writer of the book of Hebrews reminded us not to give up meeting together.  Apparently, trying to love God and follow Jesus in isolation is not unique to modern American Christianity.  It may be accentuated in our society but it is not unique.  Perhaps the instinct to run from community is not ancient nor modern but human. Some of the most gifted and creative people I know in Austin claim to follow Christ but are not connected to any faith community.  When I probe into the reasoning the repeated response is, “I don’t get much out of it.”   That line of thinking adheres to the value of  self gain and that the goal of meeting together is for the individual to get something out of it.  In a Darwinian world that line of reasoning is reasonable. In this paradigm, it is the work of clergy and committed volunteers, not the people.  This paradigm is tiring and unsustainable.  It is a recipe for disappointment.

However, Jesus’ life, death and resurrection takes Darwinian self preservation and inverts it.  Instead of receiving, the follower of Jesus is called to follow Jesus’ model of giving for the sake of each other.  This is good news for the world.  In this paradigm, followers are reminded to meet together so that they can encourage each other.  If we all gather motivated to share in the work of the people, I am confident that we will all walk away having received because so many are giving.  It is a recipe for sustainable and life giving community.

It is not unique to the American Christian context to meet together as consumers and to walk away unsatisfied.  I pray that Vox will be unique.  I pray that our liturgy will be filled with the vast array of our God given talents and creativity being given away to each other.  May we be unique in our love for God. May we be unique in our commitment to give rather than receive.  May we be unique in our gathering together hosting each other rather than guests waiting to be hosted.  May we be unique in sharing the work of the people.  May Vox be a community of  liturgy.  Lord have Mercy.

Thanks be to God.

[Photo by Jocelyn Catterson @ Flickr]