While I am the public face of worship at St. Ansgar each Sunday, it takes a lot of people to make wor-ship happen each week. At the risk of leaving someone out, let’s see: there’s Bill our music director and the choir of 10 to 15 people and perhaps a soloist; there is someone from the altar guild who sets up everything for Holy Communion and cleans up afterwards; the paraments (altar, pulpit and lecturn hangings), flowers, and seasonal decorating have to be prepared and arranged; there are readers, assist-ing ministers, ushers and greeters; there are Sunday School teachers, offering counters, coffee makers, and Coffee House hosts. That adds up to about 30 people.
Have I left anyone out? Oh yeah –
In the act of communal worship, you have as important a role as anyone in the above list of jobs to be done each week. You are not a member of the audience here to be entertained. As the students are taught in confirmation class, you “are a group of actors who take part in the great drama. The congre-gation offers praise in word and song, actively listens to the reading and the preaching, shares in the creed and the prayer of the church, portrays the church as a family of reconciliation by passing the peace, and takes part in the drama of the Gospel by offering the gifts and sharing in the meal.” [Daniel Erlander, “Baptized We Live”]
I’ve often thought – in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way – that it would be great to assign every member the congregation, young and old, a particular job on Sunday morning. Aside from the list above, we might add a photographer or two for the website, a tech person to monitor the sound system, someone to sit with a visitor and help them through the service, acolytes, song leaders, someone to video or re-cord services for the internet, someone whose job it is just to welcome little children, a lift operator, Sunday School assistants, nursery assistants, a different lector for each reading, power-point projection operator, chief cook and bottle-washer. The number of jobs would only be limited by our imagina-tions! And you wouldn’t have to do the same job every week – we could operate like modern factories and give everyone a different job each Sunday, just so long as everyone has a particular responsibility.
But the truth is, there is a job for everyone every Sunday morning. Even if you are not assigned a par-ticular role to play on the Rota Schedule, you have a responsibility – many responsibilities, in fact. Showing up and being part of the community. Being willing to actively and enthusiastically play your role in the gospel drama. Opening yourself to allowing the Holy Spirit to act in you through the liturgy of word and sacrament. And finally, taking the gospel you have experienced in this time of worship and living it in the world through words and deeds of kindness, compassion, peace and grace.
Looks like we’re going to have to add a lot more space on the Rota Schedule.
See you Sunday!