Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said, ‘Don’t do that! I’m a servant just like you and your brothers and sisters who hold firmly to the witness of Jesus. Worship God! The witness of Jesus is the spirit of prophesy!’
Revelation 19:10 (CEB)
In his book Introduction to Liturgical Theology, Fr. Alexander Schmemann, speaks of worship as:
[T]he life of the Church, the public act which eternally actualizes the nature of the Church as the body of Christ, an act moreover, that is not partial, having reference only to one function of the Church (her ‘corporate prayer’) or expressing only one of her aspects, but which embraces, expresses, inspires and defines the whole Church, her whole essential nature, her whole life. (p. 14)
Worship is the act of identity. The proclamation of the word and the gathering around table, become the constant reminder that we are a baptized people for the life of the world. In this constant granting of identity we receive new eyes to see, the retelling of the story God’s story reminds us of our need for God and the availability of restoration through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. Time and time again we are reminded that “once [we] weren’t a people, but now [we] are God’s people.” (1 Peter 2:10, CEB)
Now that we are a people we see the need, the brokenness, the strife, the necessity of God’s kingdom. Here is where the witness of Jesus becomes the “spirit of prophesy” in allowing us to see the necessity of God’s kingdom we are then able to become agents for the renewal of all of creation in the name of Jesus the Christ.
I wonder if we are being defined in these ways in our worship? Is our worship of almighty God faithfully witnessing to Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection? Is the result of our worship are a sent forth body, an empowered people, ready and able to announce that the kingdom of God is here?
It is my prayer that our life of worship re-claims its centrality as the public expression of our identity as the body of Christ. In order for this transformation to take place – and in doing so re-claiming Eucharistic worship as the subversive activity of the kingdom- we must stop superficial calls to meet perceived needs, accommodation to consumerist demands, and a worship that demands nothing.