All of our world experiences the phenomenon of being in the “already” but also in the “not yet.”
For instance, think of the trees in wintertime. So many of them are fully grown and reach longingly toward heaven. But because it’s winter, they are barren of leaves. There is the promise of great beauty, but we aren’t seeing it yet. Their fruitfulness is in some ways all ready to go, but we have to wait for spring and summer to see that fruitfulness come to pass. In winter, much of the creation that we see is already, but not yet.
In Liturgy, we experience this same phenomenon. Our prayer in Liturgy is probably the most beautiful of anything we do. Our common worship is a work that we owe to God for all that God has given us. All of the efforts we put into doing Liturgy well, from the planning to the training of ministers to the efforts of the congregation to pray well and participate are aspects of the “already.” We are already giving glorious worship to God. But we can all talk about times where things could be better. The sound system often needs tweaking, or the priest may forget part to dismiss the Catechumens, or perhaps the congregation doesn’t know a song well enough to sing it loud. But none of that is earth-shattering because our perfect worship will only happen in the Kingdom of heaven. Our worship is beautiful and glorious already, but not yet.
Each of us has a purpose in life. We fulfill it to the best of our abilities. Some days we accomplish God’s will for us with amazing grace. Other days, we can barely say grace before a meal. We are all works in progress. We will never reach perfection until God perfects us in heaven. We too are already, but not yet.
The writer of Hebrews in our first reading talks about this too. All things are subject to Christ. That’s already true. All of creation was made through him and for him, but not everyone gets that in its entirety just yet. So much of the world still needs to come under the headship and rule of Christ. Christ’s sovereignty is already, but not yet.
The goal of all our spiritual lives is to reach this perfection and direct as much of the world toward it as we can. In this new year, it is well for us to reorder our spiritual lives that in us, Christ would be “crowned with glory and honor.”