If you’re debating whether to head to church this evening, I have just two words for you: ‘Please go.’
Holy Thursday — the Mass of the Lord’s Supper — is always one of the most beautiful liturgies of the year.
The primary movements will all seem quite familiar. But there are a few wrinkles, too…differences that will underscore a point that our pastor made about the very nature of liturgy when he spoke to our ACTS retreat last weekend.
This official public worship of the church is ritualistic by design. It’s repeated, but with variations. And — on a fundamental level — liturgy is work. (Says Wikipedia: the term “liturgy” literally in Greek means “work for the people”) It’s meant to form us, by conforming us. We do it together, and we are given the prayers. It’s not permissible to make them up.
So: Go to Mass on Holy Thursday. Notice what seems familiar. Notice, too, how this once-a-year liturgy differs from the typical Sunday fare. See how those variations speak to your heart and mind…and perhaps nudge you a bit closer to the Lord.
One thing I’m already noticing, as we prepare to celebrate Holy Thursday in 2016: The world headlines are depressingly familiar. Last year, I wrote about the Coptic Christians who’d recently been murdered for their faith:
This year, still more atrocities to shake our spirits.
A good time, perhaps, to recall in Whom we find the strength to endure, and ultimately prevail:
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.