Life is difficult. All of us have faced, or will face tough situations that seem insurmountable. And, without the confidence and trust that comes from relationship with God and the support of a faith community, life’s burdens can overwhelm or embitter us. We all need to intentionally participate in an act of faith in something larger than ourselves – and the Eucharist (to give thanks) is a sacred ritual in which we gather to remember, recognize, and respond to Christ’s presence in our lives.
Liturgy is defined as “the work of the people.” Effective worship requires the full, active, and conscious participation of the entire congregation. It isn’t a spectator sport led by the priest, ministers, or musicians. It’s not a time for private prayer. We don’t come and take up space in order to fulfill an obligation. Essentially, at Eucharist, we agree to enter into mystery together. Through ritual, story, symbol, place, objects, actions, words, and relationships we create a rite in which we can better recognize God’s working in our lives, and God’s presence within others. The synergy of our collective participation, attention, and intention creates an opportunity for responding to Christ in our midst in a manner that holds far deeper significance than simple friendliness or rote action. In participating fully in this ritual of mystery we can, if we’re open, learn how to best enter into all of life’s mysteries. If we learn to worship well, to enter into the experience freely and with an enthusiastic, loving, grateful heart we learn to open ourselves in the same way to all life’s mysteries – loving, birthing, suffering, dying, and death. In this way all of these mysteries can reveal to us their inherent gifts and deeper meaning that we otherwise might overlook. If we refuse to enter these mysteries we risk going through life on a superficial level, always longing for something just beyond our grasp.
Regularly attending Eucharist inspires us to see God’s working in our daily lives more clearly. We begin, in time, to know, at the deepest core of our being, that we are truly, thoroughly loved. Our religion binds us back to the original experience we had in our baptism – that we are completely loved, we are one with God and with all that is. If entered into consistently, mindfully, and with an open heart, we can experience the outpouring of God’s love that can empower us to go forth into the world to share that unconditional love, forgiveness, empathy and compassion with everyone.
There are 168 hours in every week. Think about the time you spend at work, watching TV, using social media, doing chores, socializing. Setting aside the time to attend weekly Eucharist needs to be a priority. It is the most valuable hour and a half in the week – can you commit to weekly Eucharist – not just for yourself, but to build up our entire community of faith?
Remember – there’s no status quo in terms of faith. You’re either cultivating and nurturing it, or you’re diminishing it. There will surely come a time in your life when you’ll need deep faith and the support of a faith community. So, come to worship – regularly.