The following is a guest post by John
I think a lot of Christians instinctively think of their worship services in terms of what they get out of them. Was I inspired by the sermon? How did the music make me feel? Did I learn something? While these may be good things to think about, if we step back and think about the purpose of our worship services, we will see that this way of thinking is totally backward.
What is the purpose of our worship services? It seems obvious when you take a step back and think about it; the purpose is to offer our worship to the Lord. The reason why the mass is the most perfect form of worship on earth is because in the mass we offer worship in the way Jesus taught us to worship. We participate in Jesus’ sacrificial offering of himself to the Father. What offering is more perfect than Christ himself, offered by Christ himself? This is what we have in the mass.
The mass is the source and summit of our faith, because in the mass we most closely imitate the perfect worship of heaven. This reveals to us why we make every effort to array the mass in beauty — incense, chanted antiphons, stained glass, vestments, iconography… In the mass, we participate in the worship of heaven, and we should make every effort to imitate more perfectly the worship of heaven. Indeed, our hearts cry out within us to participate in this type of worship, and the more beautiful and universal we make the mass, the more attractive it will be. We will not attract Christians with modern-looking churches and popular music. We will attract Christians with beautifully adorned churches, beautifully chanted music, and our beautiful Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. Indeed, we were designed to be attracted to this type of worship in our very nature, because we were designed for heaven.
When you go back to your worship service, think about what is your purpose for being there — to offer worship to God. Think about what is the most perfect offering we can make to God and the one he told us to make — the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, offered by Jesus Christ. Think about how we can more perfectly participate in the heavenly worship we long for — by making every aspect of our worship as beautiful as possible.
John is a friend of mine from the University of Illinois. He’s a fellow engineer and is now a professor at the University of Minnesota. He’s also part of my mission partner team for FOCUS, and he says you should all contact me to find out how you can join my team too!