Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Grammar of Devotional Living

I have the great opportunity to teach three classes at West Michigan Lutheran High School in Kentwood. The class is on the Lutheran Confessions, but, since I am just "subbing" I was told I could teach on whatever topic I wanted to. Lutheran Devotional living is a very near and dear topic to me. I have found such great comfort in truly Lutheran devotional living, that is, centered around the good gifts of Word and Sacrament and focused on the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Tomorrow I am going to introduce the kids to the idea that the Liturgy serves as a grammar for devotional living and the language of devotion. I remember when I was their age I could not for the life of me understand why the liturgy was so important, but, through my own study, I have come to value it as the grammatical framework for how we interact and speak to God. The Liturgy teaches us how to pray using God's own Word. It teaches us to deny ourselves and take up the cross. It teaches us to set our minds on things above and to fix our eyes on Jesus.

Like any grammatical system, the Liturgy is not something you can look at once and learn. It takes time and effort, but it is well worth it. In addition to teaching us the framework of worship and prayer, it has the unique characteristic of all languages in that it binds all the people who speak it. Our historic Liturgies give us that linguistic connection with all the other saints who have learned to speak this biblical language. So, when we say we in the Eucharistic liturgy that we say with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven the Sanctus, we are truly in holy conversation with the invisible and eternal Church; and the Liturgy is the grammar of the Church's language.

To me, these ideas are all very new, but I'm sure I'm not the first one to think of them. I pray that all my readers and especially all Lutherans, would strive to learn this beautiful heavenly language of the Liturgy, that we may always speak with the Holy Church through all ages.


Joshua said...

Amen! You should read Scott Hahn's book titled "The Lamb's Supper - The Mass as Heaven on Earth". I just love reading your posts. God Bless.

Anonymous said...

I meant to also reccament the book "Letter and Spirit - From Written Text to Living Word in the Liturgy" also by the same author. Both go hand and hand since Liturgy is both consist The Word and Eucharist.