Thomas H. Schattauer writes about the essential link between mission and worship in the introductory chapter of Inside Out: Worship in an Age of Mission. Schattauer reminds us that the “visible act of assembly” enacts and signifies the “movement of God for the life of the world.” That is, what we do in our beautiful worship spaces empowers us to focus on “God’s mission toward the world.” Our liturgy and worship, then, become the engine for us to witness, teach, and serve the world, rather than our worship simply being a response to what we experience of the world. Rodney Clapp puts it another way. “Far from being a retreat from the real world, worship enables Christians to see what the real world is and equips them to live in it.”
I’ve been thankful, these past weeks and months, of the way the online worship of the Washington National Cathedral has embodied this. Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde and Dean Randy Hollerith have provided a real-life and digital space which is open and hospitable. The excellence in music, the carefully crafted intercessions, and the present-moment preaching have all spoken to the lively activity of God during these challenging times.
The National Cathedral and its witness is a visible reminder of how important places of public worship are, even in the midst of Coronavirus restrictions. The Cathedral has truly embodied a “movement of God for the life of the world” and has encouraged me to continue my work and ministry for the sake of all living beings. This worship has not been an escape, but a recharge. Not an avoidance tactic. But a roadmap back into daily life itself.
The latest offering from the National Cathedral for “Healing, Unity and Hope after an Election.”