Fresh perspectives illuminate ancient truths. Not being a liturgy junkie, faint whiffs of it are enough to bring me out in hives, but I have to admit to almost pleasant surprise the other day when reading some friends’ blog on symbology in worship. One rather creative and really quite powerful element in one of their meetings was an invitation to join with two others with three pieces of rope. Participants then tied the ropes together, helping each other to make the knots fast, symbolically joined in agreement in prayer.
Billy Graham used to tell them ‘I want you all to get out of your seats…’. Brownsville encouraged ‘running to the mercy seat’. Whether or not one flies with the notion of a clear-cut, Damascus Road conversion or more like the little man in the tree, the idea of symbolic commemoration is both Biblical and (dare I speak the word) attractive, it would seem, to the human spirit.
Tomorrow being Remembrance Day, millions of poppies are sold worldwide – almost a liturgy of sorrow, perhaps. The fact that we tend to clothe it with ‘acts of worship’ seems to me – many disagree, I know, so no need to comment – to gild an already bloodstained lily. So, what about a liturgy of joy and consecration which is equally meaningful and thus can be celebrated? In the same series of meetings, new believers were encouraged to go and stand near one of the many mirrors surrounding the hall and, with a red marker, draw a bold red cross through their own image, symbolic of “I no longer, but he who dwells in me”. I couldn’t quite see myself doing it but, wow, I so wish I’d thought of it myself.