Some may describe liturgy as a noun. In it’s proper sense, liturgy is a verb.
Liturgy is action done, word spoken, music made, gestures offered, dance performed. Liturgy is inclusive of the many and various ways in which a community of people praises God for all God’s gifts.
Christians praise God chiefly for new life given by God in Christ Jesus, ushering in the great feast of God’s love that is set before all people and will come to all. Liturgy is the praise of God’s people for all God does in providing such a bountiful banquet.
As God’s gifts are best experienced, so too, liturgy is best experienced. The experience may be mystical or inspirational, it may be somber or reserved. Whatever the experience, liturgy is the participation of everyone in the offering of praise to God.
When Christians speak about praise, they actually speak about a way of life, a way of living. Praise of God and praise of one another
is about love of God and love of one another, just as God loves. Faith proclaims that God receives the praise of God’s people — the love of God’s people for God and for one another — with great joy.
If liturgy includes a gesture or a dance, it might seem strange to say liturgy “speaks.” Strange, but true. A warm embrace by a loving friend in the midst of crisis often times “speaks” volumes more than words.
Whatever way in which liturgy “speaks,” Christian liturgy speaks God’s word of promise, God’s word of grace, articulated as clearly as possible and through whatever means possible. Liturgy at its best means what it “says” and “says” what it means.
There is no understating the importance of this connection; we are changed, shaped, molded by what is spoken to us. Even as we praise God, through God’s word of promise — through love and by grace — God praises what God is creating within us.
The interesting thing about praising God, is that God gives the gifts to praise. Both the inspiration and the means — a rich treasury:
Sweet incense to honor Christ’s presence and flickering candles to illumine it. Creative ways to proclaims God’s word. Singing choirs and jamming jazz bands. Dance. Visual arts. Water. Wine. Bread. Oil. Signs of peace.
All gifts of God’s creation!
That’s as it should be. With these things and all of God’s creation, God’s promise of life is set as broad as the face of the earth. “See,” God proclaims, “I am making all things new” (Revelation 21:5).
Saint Peter’s Church embraces a very wide spectrum of liturgical expression. While English is the primary language, Spanish is often spoken in bi-lingual masses and at a mass every Sunday afternoon. Other languages are used from time to time.
Music is drawn from the best of the western canon and world repertory, as well as America’s art from — jazz. Incense is sometimes used. Liturgical assistants are many in number and dressed in white gowns and colorful robes, all of modern design.
The Sanctuary of Saint Peter’s Church is infinitely flexible, allowing for a variety of arrangements. There is ample time for silence for reflection, as well as ample time to sing together. Readings are always presented well, sometimes in dramatic form. Dancers often provide movement and grace.
Children and families are welcome at all liturgies of Saint Peter’s Church. Liturgies held in the Sanctuary are simulcast in the Plaza Room, located near restrooms, for the convenience of caregivers. Materials appropriate for children and corresponding to the themes of the liturgy are provided regularly.