|May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Summer is only a month away, although it may appear that it has already arrived. The days are increasingly longer, and there is more time to do the things we like to do outdoors. Saturday is great day to accomplish all the outdoor work that has built up over the last week. It is a day for chores and errands, and if all of it gets done and the day is fine, maybe there will be an opportunity for a bike ride, a walk, or an excursion with the kids. A fine day indeed.
All of these are lovely things and good things. We should not deny ourselves the wonderful possibilities of a beautiful Saturday. However, there is another good and beautiful thing about Saturday. Saturday is a day to prepare us for the most important work we can do each week, the celebration of the Holy Eucharist in our local parish. As we tend to all those important things we must do each Saturday, we should also tend to our spiritual lives in preparation for our work together tomorrow.
Is there someone whom I have offended that I need to be reconciled with? Am I in harmony with my neighbor, my fellow parishioner? Is there a barrier to being able to glorify God with one voice? Am I living in accordance with Christ Jesus? These are questions that should be asked as we prepare to come to the Lord’s Table and partake of his Body and Blood. In answering the questions we should take the steps needed to be in right relationship with God and our neighbors as much as it depends upon us.
This theme of harmony was an important part of the life of the Early Church. St. Ignatius of Antioch (ca. 117 AD) mentions it often in his epistles to the various churches. He writes to the Ephesians: “become a choir, that being harmonious in love, and taking up the song of God in unison, you may with one voice sing to the Father through Jesus Christ” (4:2).
God has graciously allowed us the work of tomorrow’s liturgy for our own good and for the life of the world, and has given us time for confession and peace that we might put to right any disharmony we have. Let us become the choir of God tomorrow, having had our rehearsal today.
Let not the harmony be weakened and the one voice of the Church muted by our absence.