I lived through the second great reawakening. I thought I could preach. At some time. Then nature called and I went in other directions.
God has always been a great part of my nature. I feel his presence in the woods, the wards, and the words. I see his activity in the world. When I stand up in front of an audience, there is the air of sanctity about it. Worship in any world should be a passionate experience.
I tire of those who would recite the reasons why we can’t, or shouldn’t, or won’t, or don’t. I look forward to the positive experience. I encouraged my amanuensis to express our feelings. And so he did.
Kirk R. Brown wrote from the depths of his experience. And believes that the best part of life is yet to be felt:
- A Lay Liturgist, appearing before the congregation, can convey a sense of passionate and connected worship totally unlike a member of the paid staff. It demonstrates a level of volunteerism that should encourage more of the same from others in the audience.
- A Lay Liturgist draws on sources of inspiration from a working world. Having business people, retirees, teachers, job-seekers, house tenders, child-rearers, and musicians serve in this capacity should illustrate how those careers can illuminate a spiritual existence.
- Lay Liturgists should extend a welcoming hand to new congregants. This church is ours. We live here, work here, and worship here. That’s a radical concept!
- In the course of week of preparation, a Lay Liturgist reaches into the source of his/her faith and confirms why it is and what it is. This is a truly great reward of service. This nourishes the individual’s faith and confirms a sense of communion with the body.
- In preparing for the moment in every service when the Lay Liturgist offers a communal prayer, it is a step in intentional faith development. In every word and at every turn of phrase, the community of faith is joined within the enlarged concept of “The Lord’s Prayer.” Two thousand years of Christian faith is merged into the present company of believers.
- Every service led by a Lay Liturgist is an extreme example of risk-taking mission and service. It is a challenging podium over which to accept responsibility. The opportunity to appear before a congregation is awesome and terrible. Those who remain comfortable in the pews cannot possibly conceive of the sense of wonder and dread that fills the heart of the committed Lay Liturgist.
- In every prayer that lifts up a congregation’s joys and concerns, the words coming from a member of that congregation can carry a greater depth of involvement and personal reflection. Knowing the congregation as a member of laity does, over so many more years, adds a depth of reason and an acknowledgement of passing years that is otherwise lost in transitions.
- A Lay Liturgist can interact with a congregation on its own personal level. There is no intervening ecclesiastical wall or artificial distancing. It’s an opportunity for spontaneity, humor, sadness, veracity, communality—life! in short—that freshens and enlivens the service format.
- It is an aspect of this service that it confirms an active intent to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. If the world can be transformed in the process, then so much the better.
- Simply put, a Lay Liturgist has a real reason to volunteer because it is a pleasure and a joy. Through this act, a spiritual thirst is quenched.