Thursday, September 9, 2010

Announcements and Eucharist

I am always a bit disconcerted when a priest interrupts the rhythm of the Divine Liturgy to make routine – and often mundane – announcements. We are gathered in the presence of angels and archangels, in the company of saints and martyrs, in the fellowship of the church in heaven and the church on earth and the best we have to say is, “And don’t forget the potluck brunch next Sunday morning between services”? Right after the passing of the peace and right before we lift up our hearts to the Lord, why must we hear about choir practice, and the budget committee meeting, and the prayer luncheons, and all the rest of the nuts-and-bolts of church business/busy-ness?

Why? Because it is part of our lives and part of our life together, and because the essence of worship is bringing all that we have and all that we are before the Lord and making of it there an offering: all the things we deem holy and all the things we deem mundane. Because singing in the choir and balancing the budget and serving on church committees, all of it is good work – work done through the grace of God and work done for the glory of God. Because we intend to celebrate the Eucharist and it is fitting and right to remember the extraordinary ordinariness of a life in Christ with great thanksgiving. Because we seek direction and blessing in all the routines of our life together.

One post-communion prayer in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer captures the integral connection between our Eucharistic worship and our daily work beautifully:

Almighty and everliving God,
we thank you for feeding us with the spiritual food
of the most precious Body and Blood
of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ;
and for assuring us in these holy mysteries
that we are living members of the Body of your Son,
and heirs of your eternal kingdom.
And now, Father, send us out
to do the work you have given us to do,
to love and serve you
as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord.
To him, to you, and to the Holy Spirit,
be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

And so we connect our meetings and our ministries and our daily work and lives to the holy mysteries of the Eucharist where everything is sanctified, where everything is given meaning through the most precious Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The problem, it seems, is not with the announcements, but with a heart that fails to see the stuff of announcements as the real in-breaking of the Kingdom of God. So, just perhaps, I won’t be too disconcerted by the announcement of the potluck brunch between services next Sunday. It, too, is a holy meal. Amen.

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