Liturgy. It is an old-fashioned sounding word, isn’t it? In fact it is a very ancient word – it comes from the greek word ‘leitourgia’ which means public service or work. We could understand it as groups of carefully and reverentially chosen words crafted to offer people space and opportunity to encounter and worship God. The words of liturgy can be recited or sung alone or (more usually) with others as a collective act of worship.
Sometimes there is great comfort in liturgy. It can put words and shape to our joy at times of celebration and communion. But it can also provide a framework for prayer when we are at a loss for words, exhausted or bewildered. The words can wrap themselves around our hearts and hopes with a comforting solidity and familiarity when the outside world seems unfriendly or confusing. It can provide a scaffolding of faith when ours seems to be buckling under the weight of our worry or losses. For many, over countless centuries, it has felt like a lifeline.
Liturgies for Hope
In these uncertain times, many of the ancient liturgies of our different denominations, some of which have been spoken faithfully for hundreds of years, can be a solace. However, there are some new liturgies springing up, written especially for this season of pandemic by believers trusting the Spirit of God to enliven their imaginations and inspire their prayers. New York City, hit especially brutally by coronavirus, has a church group who have put together some beautiful liturgies, ‘Liturgies for Hope’ to provide space for us to encounter the comfort and restoring touch of Christ when we may be feeling bereft or tired or anxious. Please check them out here to discover a growing treasure trove of short liturgies for this time we find ourselves in. It is our prayer you may find solace and strength as you encounter the peace of God within them. You could pray them on your own, or in a group. Perhaps they might work well in one of your Zeo groups? May the love of God you find there inspire and comfort your soul, and bring you hope.