On January 18th I attended the Red Mass. This is a special, annual worship service held at the Cathedral Basilica in downtown. The service offers a blessing for the state legislators who are beginning the new legislative session. Bishop Silva invites ecumenical clergy to attend and add their prayer of blessing over our elected leaders.
It has been years since I have been to a Roman Catholic mass.
While there is so much that is similar, there is much that reminds me of the diversity in our worship of God. The smell of incense, the ornate décor, the choreographed movement all invited me to pay close attention. I tried to keep up with the rehearsed call and response liturgy and was mostly successful at standing and sitting at the right times (I was really off once). The element of the service that brought a joyful smile to my face was the Gospel reading.
Before the Gospel is read, the Bible is lifted high and carried around the chancel (ie stage) as it makes its way to the lectern. Along the way a soloist sings “Hallelujah!” There was so much joy in the singer’s voice that my heart couldn’t help but smile. It was as if he had been longing for weeks, years, to hear a good word and now he was moments away from a message of hope and blessing. Reading from the Bible was a pleasure.
It reminded me that the scripture is a gift. Like the air we breathe, the dawn of a new day, or any number of small expressions of love that we miss. Scripture can be one of those everyday wonders that we take for granted.
The voice of love divine can be heard throughout the Bible. All we need to do is look and listen. The power of scripture comes from the belief that God has a word for us. The practice of reading scripture begins with and builds upon, the conviction that God has a message of healing, of hope, and of heaven on earth for us.
While divine revelation is woven throughout creation, there is a particular power in hearing eternal truths in the scriptures that have been studied and celebrated for centuries. Hallelujah!