Liturgy: It’s not the Work of the People

“I hope and pray that those charged with being custodians of the Church’s worship will do so in a way that honors the gifts and talents of their congregations.” Words on liturgy by the Rev. Canon Robert Hendrickson

A Desert Father

One of the more persistent phrases one hears in Episcopal Church circles is that the liturgy is “the work of the people” based on a translation of the Greek word Leitourgia.  This translation of the word often is then used as a way to say that the liturgy should be more “participatory” or involve more lay people in planning or more responsive to the desires of laity.  I would actually agree with all of these though I might quibble with what any of them actually means.

For example, if we say the liturgy should be more “participatory” this is often interpreted as meaning lay people say more or do more.  Yet in a culture in which we are constantly pressured to do and say the actually challenging act of participation may be to simply adore – to learn to be present with our hearts opened to God’s.

Liturgy+Sermon+Series+SlideYet, my…

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An Alcohol Free Lent: A Season of Repentance and Reflection

Join Canon Robert Hendrickson, and me, this Lent.

A Desert Father

To this point I have refrained from public comment on the tragic death of a cyclist who died because of the brokenness of an Episcopal bishop in Maryland. There has been much comment on the culpability of the bishop, the diocese, and the discernment committee who put her name forward despite previous troubles with alcohol.

bible There has also been much written on the need for both justice and mercy in cases such as this. There has also been a good deal of emotion in debates about what it means for us to welcome into leadership those who continue to struggle with issues of addiction.

On Facebook today, a friend sent along an idea that I thought both sensible and spiritually valuable. He wrote the following:

“Like everyone in the Episcopal Church, I’ve been torn, dumbfounded, and mortified by the events of Maryland: what it says about the episcopacy and church…

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Our Daily Bread

That Blessed Dependancy

“Furthermore, by this order the curates shall need none other books for their public service, but this book and the Bible…”

From the Preface to the First Book of Common Prayer (1549)

It was my privilege and delight last fall to teach an adult Sunday School class called “The Bible and the Book of Common Prayer.” The syllabus for the course was nothing more than the Table of Contents found in the BCP, and the stated goal was to explore the ways in which the Prayer Book puts the words of Scripture on our lips, plants the teachings of Scripture deep in our hearts, and conforms the rhythms of our lives to Scripture’s great story.

In sixteen weeks of forty-five minute sessions, we covered a rough history of both the Bible and the Prayer Book, traced the arc of the Calendar of the Church Year, reflected on the roots and…

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good reads

2015/01/img_0943.jpgfor better & worse, my facebook feed is my main source for online reading.  Here are my favorites from this morning:

Nine Things You Should Really Know About Anglicanism More often than I’d like, I lose track of what drew me to Anglicanism; this piece encourages and energizes as it convicts.  Anglicanism is Protestant, it is Evangelical, and it is Catholic.

A eulogy for Edward Herrmann, from blog Life Upon the Sacred Stage.  I found this through The Living Church, for which I wrote my own homage to theatrical storytelling–one of Mr. Herrmann’s long-running roles–in Raising Rory & Raising Ruth.

From Study Finds More Reasons to Get and Stay Married in the New York Times today, I learned “[m]aybe what is really important is friendship, and to never forget that in the push and pull of daily life.”

Practicing the Presence of Place, via the Covenant Blog, witnesses to the hope and transcending power of a church community.  It also reminded me that I’ve been meaning to read Wendell Berry’s Hannah Coulter (on which I’ve now duly placed a hold at my local library).


What’ve you been reading lately?