Elizabeth is new to Columbus and St. Augustine’s but will soon be a confirmed Anglican and member of the church. She enjoys writing, hiking, walking her dog, and playing board games with her husband. The Personal Power of Liturgy As a born and raised non-denominational Christian, I still find it odd that I have embraced a way of Christianity that uses a liturgical style of worship and a book of pre-written prayers for contemplation and worship. How did this happen? How did I move from a form of worship that included a rock band to a structured, almost Catholic form of worship some see as old-fashioned? A couple years ago I faced a few of the most challenging situations a person can deal with in this life and for a number of reasons related to that I began questioning my faith. Did Jesus actually rise from the dead? Even if it is true, why would I want to follow this God who could He let horrible things happen in my life and in the world? If He is a father, is He loving or abusive? I dug deep into theology and scripture, trying to rationalize my way back into my faith; it didn’t work. For every point I made, I created a counter-point. It was an impossible debate to win because the truth is that logic, history, and science can teach us about God, but they do little to show us who He is. Faith, by definition, requires the un-seen. Over time I saw the negative effects of atheism on some friends and something inside me just wouldn’t give up on God. In God’s providence, my brother moved to my city, taking a job at a large Anglican church. When he sensed I was ready, he invited me to attend. At his church, I finally realized that my faith struggle was in part due to sheer emotional and physical exhaustion. I simply didn’t have the energy to come to God. When services at other churches gave time for personal prayer or contemplation, my mind would wander towards all the darkness I had experienced and wonder if God was even listening. But at the Anglican church it was different. I didn’t know what to say when I tried to pray, but the words were right in front of me, words that had been prayed by thousands of believing and doubting Christians for hundreds of years. Cracking open my dusty Bible sounded overwhelming but reading and hearing four passages of scripture every Sunday was more accessible. The first few weeks I didn’t participate in Communion, but instead I received and felt a blessing from God in the form of the words of a priest and a touch on my forehead. When I couldn’t focus well enough to understand the sermon, I was able to know God in the prayers and creeds of Christians from centuries past and later when I did receive Christ’s body and blood during the Eucharist my soul was fed. I began to allow the prayers and intercessors to carry me to God and the words of the liturgy wrapped around me like a hug from God. In the structure of an Anglican service I met God as a loving Father, one who wept and ached with me, and carried the grief of all those facing injustice around the world. When times are good and faith is strong, most Christians find it easy to engage in worship and prayer, but when life is hard, faith can feel like an uphill battle. We should be encouraged by the fact that faithful Christians across the globe and centuries have believed and doubted and remain God’s people. In fact, those same believers who have written our prayers and creeds had their own doubts and struggles. Thomas McKenzie says in his book The Anglican Way, “Any one individual may or may not believe the entire creed equally at any given moment. … But on Sunday mornings across the earth, all of these millions upon millions of doubtful people rise to their feet and say the creed together.” We are not on this journey alone. We join with Christians past, present, and future as we come to the cross limping and broken, leaning on each other. Sometimes, like the paralyzed man in Luke 5 whose friends lowered him through the roof to the feet of Jesus, we are simply carried. Are you doubtful? Join in the creed with those who have doubted before you and still believe. Are you broken? Take comfort in the prayers written by those whose lives were broken long before yours. Are you exhausted and paralyzed? Let others pick up your mat and carry you to Jesus. Rest in your faith and use the Anglican liturgy, not to achieve perfect worship, but quite the opposite, to carry you along in your doubts and struggles, so that when your faith is stronger you may carry others to God.