My soul waits for the Lord, more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning. In the past year, my fondness for liturgy has been kindled. The word "liturgy" comes from a Greek word, λειτουργία, which means "service", "ministry", "worship", "offering", or "sacrifice". Throughout the ages, Christians have participated in and passed down liturgy. It is the language of the faithful, the people of God.
Liturgy, most often, is merely an adaptation of Scripture. It's a praying of the prayers of previous people. It's stating truth, truth of which our souls so often need reminding.
Out of the depths I have cried to you, O Lord, hear my voice. With my whole heart I want to praise you, O Lord hear my voice. If you, O Lord, should mark iniquity, who could stand? Who could stand?
The ever-wise CS Lewis has a thought or two on liturgy. In Letters to Malcolm, he writes,
"Novelty, simply as such, can have only an entertainment value [in church]...Every service is a structure of acts and words through which we receive a sacrament, or repent, or supplicate, or adore. And it enables us to do these things best...when, through long familiarity, we don't have to think about it. As long as you notice, and have to count the steps, you are not yet dancing but only learning to dance. A good shoe is a shoe you don't notice. Good reading becomes possible when you need not consciously think about eyes, or light, or print, or spelling. The perfect church service would be one we were almost unaware of; our attention would have been on God."
What I find most compelling in his words is that liturgy is something so comfortable and familiar that through it we are freed to devote our attention and our affection wholly to Christ.
I will wait for the Lord. My soul waits and in his word do I hope.
For me, liturgy is becoming one such familiar comfort. I return to the same words again and again and again. I pray the same words, at different times, in different places, in different seasons, in different states of mind. And these same words carry with them rich, old meaning and simultaneously take on new, fresh meaning.
I pray truth, words re-purposed from the faithful, words that resonate with my soul.
Though, perhaps more often than not, I pray words that stir within my soul a longing, a longing for them to resonate. I pray words that betray a realization that, at present, this is not the state of my soul, but it ought to be the state of my soul. I pray these words of gentle, comforting familiarity that stir longing and so direct my soul to Jesus.