Our Liturgy shapes our Spirituality
MYSTERY The Eucharist, our great thanksgiving for everything God has done for us, is a beautiful mystery, where we receive Jesus Christ in bread and wine, through faith. The Holy Spirit moves among us when we worship together, and the mystery of that experience transforms us.
JOY There’s a deep gladness in our community for what God has done for us, and we express that in our worship. We love getting together for worship, and that joy in community is both obvious and contagious.
SILENCE We leave room for silence in our liturgy, because in the silences, we are better able to listen.
SINGING We love to sing. It has been said that when we sing in church we pray twice, once with words and once with melody. Most of our singing is participative or corporate, though some is offered as anthems by our choir or soloists for all of us to enjoy.
LOVE Above all, we believe in God’s love for everyone. Period. And we aim to share that love with everyone. Period.
WORSHIP Through LITURGY
Our liturgy (that is, the form of our worship service), is the heart of our experience on Sunday at St. John’s. It is a weekly opportunity to connect with and experience God in a community setting. In the liturgy:
We listen to readings of scripture, we listen to silences that focus our attention and keep us from rushing, we listen to the joyful (or not) cries of the babies among us, and we listen for Christ’s call to us, experienced both directly to us in prayer, and through the sermon, which is based in the readings, and usually interprets what’s happening in the world through the lens of the Gospel.
Prayer is responding to God, through our thoughts and by deeds, with and without words. We pray in our liturgy by offering our thanks for the good things in our lives, and by asking God to help us with the things that are difficult for us. We also offer our prayers in the Great Thanksgiving, the prayer we say to bless the bread and wine we share in communion.
In our liturgy, we give a lot to God and the church. We give our time, one of our most valuable assets, by choosing church over brunch or sleeping in. We offer our talents, working together with others to build the community and work to fulfill our mission. We give our treasure, offering money to support the work of the church, giving according to our ability. We believe that in this, we are giving back to God from what God has already given us. And as a community, we give the gifts of bread and wine, the elements that become our communion, which we believe Christ is present in, somehow, and through which our union with Christ is strengthened.
We respond to all the good things that God continues to do for us during our liturgy. We respond by giving thanks for all the gifts we are given, all of which come from God, who loves us, and knows us all by name. We respond by welcoming everyone who joins us, as thoughtfully as we can. And we respond by being sent back into the world, to share the good news of God’s love for all in Christ Jesus, through our words, and through our actions. We are assured as Christians that nothing, not even death, can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus, and we aim to live that assurance through our lives each day.