Dear Christ Church,
There are days when our church service feels relatable. We speak a common language, our songs move in familiar patterns. There are other times where the service feels other-worldy. Both of these moments are significant as the shape of our liturgy says something about the God we worship. We worship a God who is transcendent and immanent, who is Holy Other and yet also has become close and near.
This Sunday the service will be one of those services that has the transcendent feel. We begin the service with the Great Litany.
What is the Great Litany?
The Great Litany is an ancient prayer service that has its history going back to the early years of the church. During a plague the church in Rome literally prayed and walked around the city asking for God’s deliverance. That tradition developed in later years to a prayer walk through the local village. Today we follow an adapted version of this. The cross will process around the sanctuary as chalice bearers and clergy, those who wear white robes and represent you, the church, follow behind. We will all chant and pray together confessing sin and asking for God’s blessing over every area of life.
The experience will feel full. You’ll be kneeling and praying through chants against personal sins, demonic powers, and the influence of the world. You’ll pray for healing, for social wellbeing, for our church and political leaders. The Litany crescendos in asking the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world. It is a powerful declaration as we enter Lent that only through Christ and his sacrifice on this cross will we find healing and will this world be restored.
One practical note: try to be seated a few minutes ahead of the start of the service. Once the service begins and the procession starts it can be a little cumbersome moving to a seat.