The Divine Liturgy – the continual ascent, the lifting up of the Church to heaven, to the throne of glory, to the unfading light and joy of the kingdom of God – should be the focus of our experience. As one author has put it: “Standing in the temple of God’s glory” we are called to think and imagine that we are in heaven. In fact the area defined by icons representing Christ and Mary is considered, in our Church, to be a symbol of the Kingdom of God. These words are not just pious rhetoric, for they express the very essence, the very purpose both of the Church and of her worship as above all precisely a liturgy, an action in which the essence of what is taking place is simultaneously revealed and fulfilled.
But in what is this essence, in what is the ultimate meaning of the Divine Liturgy if not in the manifestation and the granting to us of this divine good? From where, if not from our “Lord, it is good for us to be here,” comes its simultaneously otherworldly, heavenly and cosmic beauty, that wholeness , in which all – words, sounds, colors, time, space, movement, and the growth of all of them – is revealed, realized as the renewal of creation, as ours, as the ascent of the entire world on high, to where Christ has raised and is eternally raising us?
I wonder if this makes any sense to my readers? What I am trying to express is that if we truly enter into the essence of our worship – Divine Liturgy – we are called to be transported out of time and space and glimpse the world to come. In our Divine Liturgy we actually address our God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and, for the short time that we pray, we can, if we allow ourselves to think about what we are really doing, encounter Him.
We are asked in the Divine Liturgy to “lay aside all earthly cares” so that we can truly allow ourselves to be focused on the kingdom of God. We say in the very beginning of the Liturgy, “Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit”. We desire a glimpse of God’s Kingdom and we have to allow ourselves to imagine being in God’s Kingdom where all “earthly cares” are put aside.
The Liturgy encourages us to also “stand aright” and to “stand in awe” before our God. If we sincerely pray the prayers of the Liturgy, it is easy to be transported psychologically and spiritually into His presence. This is what we must allow ourselves to do when we celebrate the Liturgy – to be transported into His presence where He can praise Him and ask Him for help to live our lives.