Last week at this time I mentioned that ritual actions are important to us. They are significant in the Bible, and we don’t ever want to fall into the trap of relegating them to the status of being insignificant. But there is another important element in all of this.
We are gathered together as an organic body. This means that our liturgy is corporate. When we say amen, we say it together. When we partake of the bread and cup, we do it together. When we sing, or confess the Creed, we do it together. When we raise our hands in the Gloria Patri, we do it together. This is not accidental.
There is nothing wrong, obviously, with individual acts of piety. But individual acts of piety are not liturgical acts, and we want to lean against the notion that we are being individually devout while just happening to be in the same room. We are a body, and we want to function smoothly together as a body.
This takes practice, and discipline, and love, and like-mindedness. As Paul says with regard to the Lord’s Table, we are to wait for one another, defer to one another, stay in step with one another. As a Puritan once put it, we serve a precise God. That being the case, we want to serve Him with precision. This is not the same as serving Him as though He were fussy and persnickety. Precision and communion are glorious—we are not trying to worship in lockstep, but rather we are trying to worship God with one heart, soul, mind, and voice.