The liturgy does nothing for me; I get more out of praying on my own.
I guess I am among the fortunate ones. Our parish has a liturgy committee that does simply an awesome job for our church. I don't know the author, but this was published in our bulletin on February 19, 2006.
I suppose not all parishes take as much time and care as ours with the liturgy and not all parishes are blessed with such a gifted orators as we have with Father Frascadore and Father Haslach. These gifts make it much easier to get up on Sunday morning and join with others to pray.
how do we create an environment for worship?
What does it mean to create an environment for worship? Just as we hang wreaths on the doors of our homes and light the walkways that lead to these doors, we furnish and adorn our churches to welcome parishioners and guests. If the church is a gathering place for a particular assembly of believers, then a hospitable environment is one that welcomes and supports this community when it gathers. And if evangelism is part of the church's mission, then creating an environment that welcomes the wider community is a way of practicing this mission.
In our homes we display garden flags, jack-o-lantens, and Christmas lights according to the season. The church, too marks time, introducing us to the liturgical seasons of the incarnation cycle (Advent, Christmas, Epiphany), the paschal cycle (Lent, The Three Days, Easter), and the ordinary time of summer, autumn, and November. Creating environments within which worshipers come to understand and participate in the unfolding of these liturgical seasons is meaningful, challenging work.
THINK NATURE One way to create an environment that celebrates a particular season is to utilize natural materials. Flowers and grasses that are in season connect us to the natural world and suggest that the flux of life is a part of the Christian story. Simple, organic materials wordlessly proclaim the goodness of God's creation.
THINK (FIVE) SENSES Fresh flowers have another advantage in creating an environment for worship: they give off scents. Our five senses function to orient us to the space we inhabit. During a liturgical celebration, hymns engage our ears, colorful images direct our eyes, and bread and wine stimulate our tongues. Our sense of touch is activated as we stroke the wood of a chair. Smell tends to be the sense that is neglected. Thinking of the church environment in terms of its appeal to all five senses will expand creative possibilities.
THINK MYSTERY Liturgical seasons mark the passage of time and place us within the context of an unfolding salvation history. Effective, meaningful church environments respect the mystery of this story of salvation. The baptismal font and the table of the Lord's supper more than anything else in the worship space point to the mystery of our salvation. Clean linens, appropriate vessels, even the presence of water in the font, are simple reminders of our privileged status as children of light, recipients of grace, and inheritors of God's kingdom.
I have however, been to masses where the liturgy did nothing for me and I know that can be difficult. I think at times like these there are three alternatives. If the parish is your own, what can you do to help make it better? If you have no allegiance, there are other churches. Most of all try and focus on the benefits of coming together that we cannot receive otherwise: (1) sinners like ourselves to lift us up when we fall, (2) the strength found joining together as the "body of Christ" rather than going it alone, and (3) "transubstantiation" the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist and Jesus at the alter during mass.