“Proclaim with me the greatness of the LORD; *
let us exalt his Name together”
There is something powerful, joyful and wonderful about the Great Amen. This “AMEN,” can be found at the end of each of the Eucharistic Prayers in the Book of Common Prayer. It is the moment in the service when everyone, together, proclaims their agreement with the prayer that has been offered by the priest to God. With one loud voice we proclaim, “I agree.” In fact, the Great Amen is the only time in the Book of Common Prayer where a word exists in all capital letters. Now if I’m honest, of all of the congregations where I’ve worshiped, St. Alban’s does a GREAT AMEN. There are Sundays when I’m practically bowled over up at the altar by the sheer volume of joyful sound that is directed to God at that moment.
Worshiping God with others is a basic and necessary tenent for Christians. In fact, you cannot have a service of Holy Eucharist by yourself, you need others. Why? Because as Christians we are meant to be in relationship–relationship with God, relationship with Christ, relationship with one another, with creation. The glorification of God is better done with more of God’s creation gathered together, plain and simple.
The quote above comes from a portion of the Psalter appointed for today’s feast day as we celebrate the life and ministry of St. Benedict of Nursia. The psalmist issues us a bold and joyful invitation: “Proclaim with me the greatness of the Lord. Let us exalt his Name together.” (Psalm 34:3, my emphasis added.)
We are now practically in the middle of July, and I know that many of you reading this Daily Cup are off on vacation, traveling with family, or maybe even traveling for work. How do I know this, because we have about 30% fewer people in church on an average summer Sunday than during the program year. Guess what? You don’t get to skip church because you are on vacation. In fact, if you are traveling you have a fantastic opportunity to visit another Episcopal church and experience how that worshiping community proclaims the greatness of the Lord. In doing so you are adding to their corporate worship, you are enhancing the worship of God in that place, adding your voice to the congregation, especially at the Great Amen.
Maybe you are traveling, on vacation in a new town or city…or maybe you are in a place where you’ve come for years yet never went to find the local Episcopal church. Maybe you don’t know where to go, or there are four Episcopal churches in the city and you don’t know which one to attend.
Tell you what. I’ll make you a deal: If you are out of town and you don’t know where to go for church on Sunday morning, ask me and I’ll give you the short list of churches you should consider attending. Don’t want to feel like a total outsider? I’ll even be in touch with the priest at whatever church you want to attend and I’ll let them know you are coming. (Insider priest secret: every once in a great while, I receive an email from another priest across the country who tells me that a member of his or her congregation is coming for a visit while they are in D.C. and asks me to greet them, and I’m always happy to do so!) After every Sunday service we greet a number of visitors from around the country and around the world at the door and we are always so glad they chose to worship with us. You can and should be those visitors wherever your vacation or travels take you.
So, come and proclaim the greatness of the Lord WITH your parish family here at St. Alban’s, or go and proclaim the greatness of God’s name with a new parish family while you are on vacation or traveling. Either way, lend your voice and your heart to the congregation assembled and tell out the glory of our God. AMEN!
In Christ’s Holy Name,