As Anglicans, we often use the word “liturgy” to talk about our worship service. Sometimes we even use it to describe our type of church: “We are a liturgical church.” But the original use of the word was more common than that. It didn’t have to do with church at all. It was the term used for public service. In Greek “liturgy” literally meant “public service” or “work of the people.” I think that background beautifully sums up the truth about Christian worship. It isn’t the work of any one individual. It is the work of the people, the work of all of the people of the church. This is certainly true at Immanuel, particularly over the past couple of weeks. As you can imagine, Holy Week requires a lot of preparation. There are a lot of details to cover. It takes the work of the people to make it happen. As I reflect on the beauty of our services during Holy Week, I think about all of the individuals who worked together to make these liturgies happen. Every ministry steps up in a big way in order for us to worship well during Holy Week.
What I especially love about seasons like this is that they show me that Immanuel is following the biblical model for ministry. Paul told the New Testament church in his many different letters and in many different ways that every person who follows Jesus has been gifted by the Holy Spirit for ministry. That ministry doesn’t all look the same, but it serves the same purpose: encouraging the church to love God and love one another. Holy Week saw people sing, serve, and set-up so that we could gather to worship Jesus who died and rose again for us. But this work of the people doesn’t happen for one week only. It happens every week of every year at Immanuel. We couldn’t worship, we couldn’t do anything, if we weren’t working together to make it happen. So, thank you Immanuel for your work of the people! Thank you for serving Christ and serving our church so well! It is a joy to watch this liturgy happen week in and week out to the glory of God!