as I begin a process of rediscovering the Liturgy and among the first things I’m seeing, again, is how much our worship is a catechism, embodying and teaching the Faith. Far from mindless ritual for its own sake there is meaning in each action, more motion than other forms of Christian worship to be sure but none of it wasted. Then it occurs to me.
How much do the people who are worshiping, priests led by a Priest, understand this? When confronted with the stripped down efficiency of most American Christian worship, something that promises to get them from wherever they are to some mystical “there” in 45 minutes or less how can people who have no idea what they are doing explain, understand, and more importantly embrace the Liturgy? Saying that we do this because we do this doesn’t seem to be the answer.
And why do we insist, in some Orthodox circles, that this complex, beautiful, and meaningful Liturgy who’s nuances, even its core, are in need of deliberate explanation be done outside of the common language? As I begin to read and learn myself what I should be teaching others that one thing has jumped out at me, the wisdom of putting the Liturgy in the language of the people. If they do not understand all the subtlety of action they can, at least, if they hear the words understand something, something that helps them participate and be the people of God doing the work particular to that calling.
So many questions but questions are where answers are born.