Every Sunday at the Advocate, we announce that “liturgy is the work of the people.” We want to ward off any notion that it is something the clergy do for you and to insist instead that everyone is involved. “Everyone” includes God. Liturgy is important because it is a scene of Divine-human trafficking, a focal drama that “acts out” what is at stake among us, who we are and intend to be to one another, what we hereby pledge ourselves to be and do. Think of a wedding: it is not just an occasion for costumes and music, readings and inferior cake. Marriage vows make explicit who the partners mean to be, who the gathered community will expect them to be from now on.
Because our relationships with God and one-another are multi-faceted there are many truths to tell that bear repeating. Because we grow and change as people, we need to mean and re-mean them, with an evolving sense recommit to them again and again. Our principal liturgy at the Advocate–Holy Eucharist–is oft-repeated (every week, at least on Sundays and Wednesdays). But this is not vain repetition any more than athletic work-outs are. Liturgy trains us, because it focuses our attentions and intentions the better to grow us up to become ourselves, living members of the body of Christ.
This Sunday, we will celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi (transferred from the first Thursday after Trinity Sunday), designated in 1264 as an occasion to give special thanks for the rite of Holy Eucharist in which Christ comes to be really present to us. We will follow our observance of Holy Eucharist, with a modified version of another medieval rite, Solemn Benediction, which further celebrates the real presence of God-with-us. If you are familiar with this service from Roman or Anglo-Catholic days, you will find it transmogrified, rooted in tradition but respectfully extended. If you’ve never heard of it before, not to worry! Liturgy is tested in the participation. Come help us “act out” who we are to God and each other in a new way!