Think of the problem this way. At best, at least in our tradition, we have four hours each week to meet and to remind ourselves of the Christ event, and together, to shape ourselves into his followers. Is this enough time? Well, of course, that depends on just what is happening in those four hours, and it also depends upon what is being practiced during the other 164 hours of the week as well.
THE LITURGICAL HOUR
MS. White's book is important in this regard, offering an overview of the Liturgical Tradition of Spirituality, by which is meant, "the primary source for the nourishment of the Christian spiritual life is to be found in the Church's public worship."
She intends for us to understand that no matter what passes for liturgy (whether high or low), the proponents within the liturgical tradition assert that, "one receives the primary spiritual insight, strength, experience of the holy and nourishment for godly living," through the liturgy. This means that what really matters is "not how the liturgical tradition works, or what it means, but rather how it...sustains, influences, enriches, and enlivens the relationship between the Christian believer and God."
To this end she outlines how the liturgy offers spiritual resources in at least six ways:
- a language for prayer and meditation -- the liturgy teaches prayer
- a pattern for the spiritual disciplines -- various forms of devotional exercises are expressed in the liturgy
- an arena for an encounter with God -- the liturgy offers a context in which to encounter the Holy
- signs, symbols and rituals by which to express the relationship with God -- the liturgy offers the primary speech about our complex relationship with God
- a model for the Christian life and community -- the liturgy shapes how we are to relate to each other and the wider community
- strength in the time of spiritual crisis -- the liturgy is a source of spiritual sustenance in times of temptation, trial and torment