Liturgy of the Work Week
In any church setting that I have worked, I have heard people say “Yes, I enjoy worship on Sunday, but I wish I had something that would help me worship through the week.”
It’s a struggle in America. There are people who feel that the events of Sunday morning are disconnected and separate from the rest of their lives. They also don’t feel they have the resources to connect Sunday to the week.
Liturgy of the Work Week is a way to begin your day with a small section of a worship service, so that worship is expanded through the work week. It is a system which superimposes the elements of traditional worship over the weekly rhythm, so that your work week becomes a whole act of worship.
Liturgy of the Work Week begins on Monday with a Call to Worship (Work-ship, Worth-ship) and ends on Sunday with a Benediction (Good Word) into the next week. Below is a description of each element.
Monday, Call to Worship – Traditional worship begins with a call, an invocation, an invitation, in our own voices but also in the voice of the divine to welcome us all into a mutual activity of ascribing “worth.” The word “worship” literally means “worth-ship.” The point of the action is to take a moment in your day, before your work week begins, to remind yourself that your worth, and your work, comes directly from you value in the divine. God is worth our praise, but also all of our lives are worthy because they are created in the divine image. The call to worship on Monday recognizes the worth in all – emanating from God. It can cheer a Monday.
Tuesday, Prayer of Confession – After we have recognized our inherent worth and the goodness of all of creation, we turn to the brokenness we see in ourselves. We recognize that we personally have not always been successful in embracing our goodness, nor have we always cultivated the goodness in others. Although this isn’t the most comfortable recognition, the mystery of faith is that our ability to embrace this brokenness paradoxically allows us to be daily restored. Tuesday, the second day of the work week, can sometimes feel a bit broken and blah. It’s healthy to admit our limitations and darkness – this admission can move us to restoration.
Wednesday, Assurance of Pardon – The middle of the work week comes with the assurance once again that the worth we felt on Monday is enough to affirm our value in the divine, over and against even our limitations and failures. God recognizes our strengths and our limitations, and let’s us know in the deepest peace imaginable – “it’s all gonna be alright.” Once again, we are freed to live in full relationship with each other and the divine in a way that is very, very good.
Thursday, Prayer for Illumination and Scripture – This day, after three days of preparation and opening our hearts, is an invitation for God to speak into our life. This illumination is a lighting up of all things – we ask for the events of our day to be enlightened as God speaking to us, we ask for the scripture to be enlightened as God’s word to us, and we ask for our hearts to be enlightened to hear and understand God’s message for us in all our lives. We seek for the scripture and the events of our day to be in conversation – that the Word may speak to the World, and that the World may speak back to the Word – and we get to listen to this dialogue as it occurs before us and within us.
Friday, Reflection – Friday comes with a reflection on the scripture. It’s a further opening of the dialogue that is within us and among each other. The reflection is my own thoughts on the scripture, as well as an invitation into conversation with the scripture. This is analogous to the sermon section of a worship service.
Saturday, Prayers of the People - Every element of the Liturgy of the Work Week has a link to submit a prayer request. I will be praying for these submissions throughout the week. This public prayer, while not specifically referencing any prayer requests, is a chance for us all to pray for the world, for our work, for our worth, and for each other.
Sunday, Benediction – The Liturgy of the Work Week ends on the Sunday, where we all bless together all we have said and done in the week, but also affirm that the coming week will be a blessing as well. This is a Good Word for us all to be blessed and be a blessing to others as we exit a week and enter a new one.