Reflections on this week's Liturgical Drive-Thru (Lite)
Hello Trinity Family, Once again, the highlight of my week was seeing all your faces as you drove slowly by our Liturgical Drive-Thru! (This week's "lite" version was designed so that we could be in compliance with the authorities, but also meet a very real need for connection as the body of Christ - and Serve Wenatchee's very real need for more food donations). THANK YOU for walking Romans 12:13 with us, "sharing with the Lord's people who are in need" and for turning our backs on hoarding by giving generously (I know Matt's prized box of Cap'n Crunch may not be the healthiest, but it certainly wasn't easy for him to part with!) It struck me that we dropped off our burdens (hoarding food and fear) at the Offering Table, and then we drove next to the Lord's Table of Self-Offering. This is part of the patristic "great exchange" in which we get to offer the Lord our dregs, and he gives us his very life, his very Self. Incredible. I loved meditating with you on Scott Erickson's Second Station of the Cross: Jesus is Betrayed.
Many of us pondered what fear does to us - how it can lead us to not only betray Jesus, but (as one car of children pointed out) fear can lead us to betray ourselves. Another car of children pointed out the lock on the wrist of Judas' hand and wondered: what is locked? what is being unlocked? with one child musing, "when I am scared, I lock myself into bad situations..." And with this wise word, we all asked the Lord to help us live in the large landscape of love, not fear. In giving of our food items, we are practicing stepping into the landscape of love. Jesus gives us easy, clear steps to step out of ourselves and our fear landscapes, into the wide open country of salvation. Finally, I've been meditating on the difference between our rather weird "Liturgical Drive-Thru" (can I just say that I have not heard of another church anywhere doing this - and we are in contact with a lot of friends from seminary who are doing creative things!) and a "Drive-In Church" where we (like an old drive-in movie theatre) would just drive up and listen to a sermon. I think the difference is that when you are in a liturgical church, you never just "sit in church." The core of liturgy is that we participate. We respond. We kneel. We confess. We stand. We raise our hands. We listen. We walk down the aisle. We receive. We toss our problems to Jesus. We are sent back into the world. And then we repeat it all again the next week. Liturgical churches are oriented around Word AND Sacrament, not just word. Although it is not intended to be passive, listening to a sermon can be passive. That's why a "drive in church" just didn't seem like it fit how we, at Trinity, seek to know and be known by God on a weekly basis. A liturgical "drive-thru" is oriented toward our participating at each station, as a miniature replica of how the liturgy guides us to participate in each aspect of the gospel each week. If for some of you, a liturgical form of church is new, I'd highly recommend Mark Galli's Beyond Smells and Bells as an introduction to liturgical worship. What you need to know is that, if we are awake enough and as we continue to invite the Spirit to inhabit these very old forms and prayers, something deep is happening to us under the surface. The liturgy's power is not in being new or reinventing the wheel, but in guiding us through the old again and again until we ourselves are slowly changed. As C. S. Lewis said of liturgy (vs. novelty) in a church service:
A good shoe is a shoe you don't notice. . . . The perfect church service would be one we were almost unaware of; our attention would have been on God. But every novelty prevents this. It fixes our attention on the service itself; and thinking about worship is a different thing from worshipping. . . . I can make do with almost any kind of service whatever, if only it will stay put. But if each form is snatched away just when I am beginning to feel at home in it, then I can never make any progress in the art of worship.
Years ago, as I was fumbling my way towards liturgical worship, I gave a lecture on the dangers of "virtual spirituality" (i.e. a form of Christianity that we associate with right belief and right thinking - and so does not need any embodied expression) and how the modern non-denominational service can sometimes accentuate those dangers. (Let it be known that I am not against non-denominational churches! Just that every kind of church service comes with its own blessings, and pitfalls). Blessings on your "worship" this week at home. And may the liturgy guide your steps this week, as you seek to move from the landscape of fear into the landscape of love. Julie