By Ruth DuCharme
I really enjoy sports. Now, I am not a great athlete, but I do enjoy trying my hand at different sports. I can often be found swinging my racquet on the tennis court, and in my younger days, I was a pretty good softball player. I also spent many Sunday afternoons begging my older brother to let me play football with him and his friends in the big field by our house. He usually gave in to my begging.
Mostly, I enjoy sports as a spectator. I enjoy attending the Mercer Bears' basketball games, an occasional Braves game, and my fall isn't complete without attending a few college football games. I also love the camaraderie and prideful spirit that comes with being a part of a team whether as a player or a fan. Part of that prideful feeling comes from wearing a team uniform. If you played sports as a child, do you remember the excitement that came when you first got your team uniform? Even as adults, when we go to a game we will pull on a t-shirt or hat that bears our team's logo. The uniform is a sign of a team's connectedness and identity.
Author Frank Schaffer proposes that the uniform of the church is its liturgy. Liturgy is what we do as a church. Liturgy is what connects us with Christians from centuries past. Liturgy brings unity - a unity that comes from shared practices and traditions. Liturgy makes us a team.
There is nothing that makes me feel more a part of God's team, or makes me feel more connected to God and to my faith family than when we share liturgy together. There is unity when we stand together and sing, "Praise God, from whom all blessings flow." There is connection when we offer up the words of gratitude, "Thanks be to God." There is togetherness when we share the words of welcome, "The Lord be with you, and also with you." There is a tug at my heart when we process the light at Advent and the palms on Palm Sunday. These practices and traditions carry with them a thread that binds us to one another and to God.
I hope that these phrases and traditions aren't just a means of "going through the motions" for you. I hope that you see them as one way that we are being church. They are a means for us to proclaim that we are part of God's team - that we wear the uniform of the redeemed.
Let's come together on Sunday, united in our worship and wearing the uniform of God's people.