I was once asked to comment on the following: “The worship is over, let the service begin.” Here's my reply:
While I appreciate the play on words in this saying, I’m not satisfied with this statement, in that it seems to perpetuate the idea that worship and service are separate. To worship is to ascribe worth to something or someone, and thus to organize our lives around the object of worship. In that sense, the object of our worship will be apparent –intentionally or unintentionally - in the way in which we organize and prioritize our life energy. Our Eucharistic liturgies proclaim the Kingdom of God and enlist our lives in service to the priorities of God’s dominion as shown us in Jesus Christ. “It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere, to give thanks to you…” we pray. “Unite us to your Son in his sacrifice”, we pray in Prayer B of Rite II. “Send us out to do the work you have given us to do”, we pray, “to love and serve you as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord.” I would argue that worship is never over, if to worship is to “ascribe worth.” Worship expresses itself in service, or it is mere lip service. If we are baptized and feed at the Holy Table, our life in every area is to be lived in conscious demonstration of God’s worthiness, serving all our neighbors and co-workers and to society at large, bringing compassion and the pursuit of right relationship to every situation, whether at work or school or play or the political arena.