Earlier this month, astronomers released a picture of Sagittarius A, a black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Black holes are formed when the gravity of a star pulling matter to the center of the star exceeds the explosive outward force of the star’s burning. The star collapses in on itself. The result is an object with a very large mass but constricted space. The gravitational pull of black holes can be quite extreme but as with all gravity, the force of the pull decreases with the square of one’s distance from the black hole.
Since not even light can escape the gravity of a black hole, black holes are, well, black. However, black holes are surrounded by accretion disks. Matter drawn to the black hole starts to orbit the object. Some of the matter will eventually be sucked into the black hole and some of it will remain in a more or less perpetual orbit. Light reflected off an accretion disk and away from the black hole is able to escape and it can be perceived by telescopes on earth. Find a generally circular shape surrounding a black center and you just might have seen a black hole.
What if liturgy is like an accretion disk? Black holes in themselves are not detectable by our five senses. As spirit, (and a fortiori) the Godhead is not detectable by our five senses. We detect black holes by their effect on the matter around them. The worship we render to God ought to make God detectable to us. Black holes exert merely gravitational forces; God exerts the force of endlessly inviting love, endlessly forgiving, and endlessly seeking to forge bonds between human and God and among humans. Our liturgy should invite, extend healing / forgiveness, and concretize the love of God. If we live our lives as sacraments of God, then this liturgical quality of our lives then our very lives are accretion disks.
Analogies limp. Black holes crush what they draw to themselves. God’s embrace, on the other hand, is the fullness of life.