Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Liturgy - our work, or our participation in God's work

Today I ran into a claim that
at the pope's Wednesday audience last week, he said, “the word ‘liturgy’ means the participation of the People of God in the work of God.”

A little Googling tells me that it's actually a quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, viz:
1069 The word "liturgy" originally meant a "public work" or a "service in the name of/on behalf of the people." In Christian tradition it means the participation of the People of God in "the work of God."5 Through the liturgy Christ, our redeemer and high priest, continues the work of our redemption in, with, and through his Church.
(ref: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2.htm)

Footnote 5 refers to . Jn 17:4. - "I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do."

Now, it makes sense to me that liturgy is one of the ways that we do God's work, in particular one of the ways that we open up God's story and grace to other people by enabling sacramental moments.   But I just cannot wrap my head around the fact that liturgy itself is God's work, not ours.

And there's a wicked voice in my head saying that if it's God's work, then God can get busy organising the rosters, training the readers, preparing the visual-aids, washing the linen, etc - and we'll just show up on time and "participate".

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