This past Sunday we did some planning and training together in the sanctuary for our various lay ministries in worship. Today I want to discuss particularly the work of the greeters/ushers, and acolytes/servers. There was some Holy Chaos going on as we worked together to create good flow for our Sunday liturgies. Nearly everyone contributed to the process, and together we formulated a good set of patterns to create, preserve, and enhance the sanctity of our worship space. There is more to be said about these ministries, but I stress here this fundamental significance of our acolytes and greeters as leaders in our common call to holiness.
Our sanctuary is not holy because it is beautiful—although that certainly doesn’t hurt. It is not holy because we’ve stuck a cross up on the wall, or some pictures of Jesus in the windows, or even because some bishop has declared it sacred. It is holy because we gather there to praise God, give thanks for our blessings, and pour out our hearts in hope of salvation. We do not worship at Trinity because the space is holy, the space is holy because we worship here.
Liturgy is everyone’s work. In the Eucharist, the priest does not cast any magic spells, but instead speaks aloud a prayer of thanks that all of us are meant to be offering. The prayer that Christ and the Holy Spirit be present is not complete until we all say “Amen”. That’s why we call it “The Great Amen”, because without it there is no prayer.
Greeters and Acolytes are a vital part of leading us in the sacred dance of liturgy. They provide clarity, harmony, and coherence to our communal worship. Acolytes are not decorative, neither are Greeters and Ushers a luxury. They tend the space and keep it so we can fill it with our prayers and God may fill it with holiness.