Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
I regularly hear from people who want a “memorable” worship experience. Sometimes they will use words like “transformative.” Some of them talk about “lively” or “relevant” times of worship. Yet many of the people who pursue such a worship environment neglect one simple thing, the main point of our passage from Psalm 119.
Much of historic Christian worship does precisely what Psalm 119:9-16 describes. It draws us into a dialog with God’s Word. We are hearing the Scripture and responding with more Scripture. We do this in our worship, in our prayer, in our songs, and even as the sermon draws us into God’s Word.
How will I learn what God’s will is? I will learn it by meditating on God’s Word! How will I learn how to conduct myself in this world? I will learn by exploring God’s Word!
This seems like a difficult task. After all, my teachers have told me that “rote learning” is useless, that I need to have a living experience of what I want to learn. My teachers have also told me that I need to memorize what I am memorizing all the way, perfectly, with no errors, beginning to end. I can’t actually do that, and don’t normally think that way. My learning is going to be full of holes and places where I might misunderstand the words and the entire point of learning. And how will I remember what I have studied? I expect to live quite a while and might have time to forget something.
This is one of the beauties of historic Christian worship that is based on a solid form of liturgy. We say or sing the same things back and forth, week after week. Eventually we end up knowing those passages of Scriptures, those songs, those prayers. We can fill in the gaps in the Creed. We can pray like the people before us who prayed in the same words. And we wind up knowing these things of the Christian faith even when much else has fled from our memory.
Want something memorable? Feast on God’s Word in the divine liturgy week after week, remembering it a bit more as each succeeding week comes by. Meditate on God’s Word. It will come alive.
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