Liturgy Lession: Preparing for our Worship Workout

Liturgy Lession: Preparing for our Worship Workout

At one time I sat on a working committee tasked with assembling a new prayerbook. The bishop went around the room asking everyone which prayerbook we used. When I responded, “The 1928 Book of Common Prayer,” someone asked why we would not adopt a more modern language version. I responded by saying what we do in God’s house in worship is our work before Him, like working out in a gym, and that since the older language forces us to pay more attention, then, if we worship in Spirit and Truth, it will yield a more disciplined and focused result. There are huge analogies there. First, we make a considered decision to go to work out and prepare ourselves by being properly rested and dressed for the task. In the gym, we wear clothes suitable for the exercises. The same is true with what we wear to worship—except instead of sweats and t-shirts, we wear our best to reflect the spiritual exercises we do. Once we arrive at the gym, we don’t immediately rush to the equipment —we set it up for us and get stretched and warmed up. Ditto for God’s gym— we do an examen—asking the Holy Ghost to show us where we need to confess and/or forgive, and then we spend time in prayer, doing our preparation for worship—our warm-ups and stretches. In the gym, we would not do our exercises wildly, but would exercise proper form to derive the desired effect. Same in the People’s Work—aligning our bodies, souls, and spirits towards the end of rendering service to God and welcoming His Presence by the Holy Ghost into our lives, to change us from what we would be without this work into what He intends for us to be. After we finish, we leave, grateful for the workout, feeling energized and better equipped for the day. The same way when we do the liturgy, powered and guided by the Holy Ghost—the Word convicts and edifies us, and Jesus reveals and shares Himself with us in the Sacraments and prayers. And we are healthier because we work hard!

Collect for the Sunday Next Before Advent

STIR up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they,plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may by thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


3 comments (Add your own)

1. Christian Anderson wrote:
Thanks Fr. Harper, this is wonderful!

I am a student at Texas A&M and part of Anglican Aggies. Are there any other resources (books or articles) that flesh this out even more?

November 26, 2014 @ 12:05 PM

2. Fr. Isaac wrote:

Glad to see an Anglican Aggie 'round here! Many in our parish (including Fr. Chip) are former Aggies.

I'd recommend a couple resources off the top of my head:

1) Check out anything here tagged "Liturgy Lessons," as these are little tidbits like the one above that Fr. Chip has written over the course of over a decade in the priesthood.

2) Louis R. Tarsitano's book, "An Outline of an Anglican Life" is our main resource for our Anglicanism 101 class that we call "Salt and Light." We flesh it out quite a bit for Salt and Light, largely with respect to the charismatic stream of the faith.

And definitely feel free to contact either me or Fr. Chip by email or Facebook. You can find our contact info at the staff page on our site:

God bless,


November 26, 2014 @ 3:08 PM

3. Stuart wrote:
I love any brother and sister who are followers of my (our) Lord Jesus Christ. My ancestry goes way beyond the 1600's. Our Lord & God is real! Keep this in your heart!

November 29, 2014 @ 8:26 PM

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