Holy Worship

Mass was wonderful this week.

Sometimes, to be honest, it’s not. Sometimes I’m tired, agitated, and lukewarm. I get distracted easily. I lose focus. My mind wanders. Sometimes I just want to be entertained by a riveting sermon, flashy lights and captivating music. It’s a big transition from Sundays in evangelical Protestantism to Sundays in the Church.

But this week it was different. I brought a friend who had never been to a Mass before, and it was special. I saw the Mass through his eyes, and I was humbled. Humbled by God’s glory, by His goodness, and by His overwhelming faithfulness to me when I’m so often unfaithful to Him.

Usually it’s just me and one of my friends from Bible study who worship at Mass together. She couldn’t come, so I took a chance and texted my friend. He said yes, and I was so nervous. He’s a new believer and hadn’t been exposed to liturgy before. What would he think of it? Would he like it or be turned off? A thousand thoughts were running through my head beforehand.

When we got there, I could tell he was a little unnerved by the sight of the crucifix, front and central behind the altar. It’s quite the scene. There’s the crown of thorns, the pierced side, the blood, the dead God-Man hanging there. I’ve gotten used to it, but I think it really does present a more painful and real image of what Jesus did for us than just a bare cross.

As we went through the liturgy, I remembered how confusing it all is the first time. So many memorized prayers to pray and songs to sing, not written down anywhere. So much standing and kneeling and motions. It’s definitely a worship that incorporates your heart, soul, mind and body. After a while you do get the hang of it. It’s a beautiful communal picture of how Christ calls us to worship Him on days other than Sunday.

I don’t know what my friend thought of the Eucharistic liturgy. We kneel quite a bit, and the consecration is other-wordly if you’ve never seen something like that before. I think it presents an image of how holy God is, and how reverent we are in His presence during communal worship.

I’m so glad he went and that he said he would be interested in going again. I hope we get to talk sometime about what it means and why we do what we do. It’s a beautiful thing, the Mass. The priest’s homily summed it all up with the words of Paul, “I resolved to know nothing but Christ and him crucified.” I’m so thankful for this holy worship that Jesus gave to the Church, and that it’s been preserved through apostolic succession for the past 2,000 years. And I’m so thankful that God allowed a new believer’s curiosity about ancient worship to say yes to my text.

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