Each week, we gather to celebrate the Word and Eucharist of Jesus and are sent into the world to proclaim the good news that we have seen, heard, and tasted. Our worship life is meant to be a formative encounter with Jesus Christ that propels us into the world for mission. Through this means of grace, God empowers us for the work of mission. Worship is mission and mission is worship. Our gathering does not simply end at the conclusion of the Mass. The work continues as we are sent into the world, “Go in peace, Christ is with you”; “Go in peace serve the Lord”; “Go in peace, share the good news”; “Go in peace, remember the poor”.
We are sent in the peace of Christ to share and enact the very things we have experienced in worship. Our worship life requires us to welcome, forgive, love, teach, proclaim, share and feed. Now consider the works of mission—feeding, reconciling, forgiving, proclaiming, welcoming, loving, sharing, etc. The works of mission are the same works of worship and these works are not something the church has simply created. Rather, they are grounded in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, the one who sends us into the world to do the very things that he did.
We affirm that mission planning involves three great listenings – listening to God through scripture and prayer; listening to the community outside our doors; and listening within the household of faith. The obvious connection to worship is listening to God through scripture and prayer. However, worship that is attuned to the needs of the world will not only be listening to the needs of the assembly itself, it will also be listening to the community outside the assembly. In any setting, mission planning is not effective unless it is the work of the entire congregation. The same could be said for worship.
If we believe that worship is a participation in the redeeming love and grace of God, then worship needs to involve the whole worshipping assembly, not just one or two leaders. In worship we “rehearse” the language and practice for our lives as Christians – in worship we rehearse the work of mission. Engaging the whole assembly in worship is vital not only for an effective worship life, but it is also vital for an effective missional life. For the sake of the mission we share, we would do well to begin our conversation about mission with a conversation about how worship and mission are mutual, and are equally important in our life as a church.
In fulfilment to our call, I invite you to have your say, as a way of contributing to the mission of Christ. Share your vision for the Worship ministry of the Parish. May we learn to walk forward in our missionary work with the mindset of worship with a heart that praises God in all things and seeks to extend that praise among all.
Have a great week,
Fr Valentine Ejikeme Ntamaka