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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How an Atheist Became a Priest: The Persuasiveness of Simple Things

A Desert Father

I am a fan of Ricky Gervais.  I have loved the BBC version of the Office longer than I have been a practicing Christian.  I followed Ricky on Facebook a number of years ago and his posts generally amuse me.  Yet, occasionally, he posts some fairly vitriolic anti-Christian items. He is an avowed atheist who seems to consider religion with about the same level of charity as Hitchens and Dawkins.  Sometimes this frustrates me to no end.  Ricky also often posts about human rights and animal rights and part of me wants to shout to him that some of the most vocal and effective proponents of both are people of faith.

Yet, I can’t always shake my feeling that sometimes, somehow, he has it right.  I don’t mean that he has it right that somehow religion is an awful and fruitless thing.  Or maybe I do mean that, I suppose.

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