The Power of Word and Liturgy

(written in 2008)

It has happened many nights these past few weeks. Andy has asked Ian, “Do you want to say the Lord’s Prayer?” Ian’s answer is always, “Yes.” And, in a surprising venture from our typical toddler “God, Our Father,“ echo blessing, Andy and I will begin to recite King James language on bended knees in a bedroom full of picture books and toy tractors.

Inevitably, I will raise my head and peek at our two year old, seated on the bed, legs dangling into his daddy’s chest, and I will be caught off guard. Our bundle of animation will be transfixed, staring intently into his daddy’s moving lips, trying from time to time to mimic a word at the end of a phrase. In that moment, I will be reminded of a great truth. The Word is powerful. My son’s curiosity is a testament to it.

On one of these nights, a different power revealed itself in me. On Lord’s Prayer nights, Andy will normally add his own prayer at the end, inserting our personal family thanksgivings and requests. But, on this night, we completed our recitation and I found myself continuing …

The gifts of God for the people of God.

The naturalness that this flowed shocked me. This is not part of the Lord’s Prayer, I thought to myself. Where did it come from? Why did I say it? In my own home, I was struck with an almost humiliated panic, feeling as if what I had done made no sense – and I would have to explain it.

But Andy’s prayer interrupted my thoughts, and with relief, I discovered that I had not said these additional words aloud. I went to bed, safe with my secret.

The next day was Sunday and I quickly made sense of my new found connection. You likely understand already. In the liturgy of our church, the Lord’s Prayer is followed by the invitation to Communion. I smiled that day when the priest presented the elements. After a mere 2 ½ years in this Anglican tradition, the liturgy showed it’s power in me.

It was more than the power of habit. It was a power of connection and celebration. I cannot fully describe the emotion that I felt when I uttered those words to myself that night. I can only tell you that while my knees were bent in prayer, my heart leapt at the prayer’s conclusion. In my mind, I was standing, with arms outstretched, ready to accept the gifts of God, ready to believe that in all days in all ways, He is giving good gifts.

It is these kinds of experiences that I pray will happen in the Children’s Sunday School and Children’s Worship times at Church of the Apostles. May curious hearts and minds experience the power of the Word and the mystery of the Liturgy.

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