The Liturgy: A Precious Invitation
This month as we have been exploring Liturgical engagement with the “Got Church” series, our class has been looking at a lot of analogies, a lot of parallels with the early church, and a lot of historical referencing back to where the Liturgy came from and why. We looked at the Parable of the Great Banquet to see how precious the invitation of the weekly Liturgy really is and how much we tend to take it for granted with our lame excuses; we looked at the early church in Acts Chapter 2 and how the Church was never supposed to be about a building, but always about the togetherness of people, and we traced the words of the Liturgy back to our early Church Fathers to see this was not an invention of the Orthodox Church, but a union between us and Christ through the Eucharist every week.
While some of our youth honestly said the Liturgy was “boring,” we challenged them to really try to understand the parts of the Liturgy, the deeper meaning behind the prayers – so that it would no longer be an obligation – so that it would no longer be “boring.”
One of our youth asked a wonderfully thought-provoking question in response. He asked:
What if I do all that and it is still boring – what if it just isn’t "my thing?"
He continued, "My brother doesn’t like football. He learned the sport, he learned the rules, he truly understands the game – but the Superbowl will always be boring to him. He doesn’t care because he doesn’t like football. What if that’s the same for me for the Liturgy?"
Surely the Liturgy is different than football, right? But... all the same - it is an interesting question:
Will the Liturgy "always" be uninteresting to some just as the Superbowl will "always" be uninteresting to those who just dislike football?
The thing is, unlike football, we all struggle with Liturgical prayer – it is a discipline for everyone. After we obtain the discipline, we all seem to have to learn and re-learn it again and again throughout life.
For example, I remember when the COVID pandemic first sent everyone home in March 2020 and it would be quite a long while before we would be in an in-person Liturgy. The first Liturgy thereafter was both a breath of fresh air but at the same time a realization that I was out of practice. The standing, the participating, the paying attention, and... the paying attention. My mind wandered. It felt like the hardest Liturgy of my life to get through.
A sure sign of the deadening of the soul is the avoidance of church services. St. John Climacus
During the Liturgy we are united to Christ both spiritually and literally through the Eucharist (Communion) … when we are away from that union for some time, our soul starts to die. But out loving Father does not wish for us to die but to repent and to live. That is why the Liturgy is this amazing weekly invitation, it is an amazing invitation to live – to be united to Christ. It is unlike football because this is what we were made to do- to become like Christ. We were not created to be football players, we were created in God’s image – created to be united with Him.
We will be wrapping up this theme on “Got Church?” next week, but if your teen group is like mine with inquisitive minds asking tough questions about our faith, I highly recommend you check out our Apologetics Retreat materials entitled, “The Truth about Doubt” focused on helping teens find good answers to their good questions.
What good questions do your teens ask about their faith?