February 22, 2024

The Lord be with you. 

Our Lenten liturgy swap is underway and so far it is doing what I hoped it would.  

I started the swap for several reasons. It is good for us to know how the other service worships. It is healthy to recognize where we came from or to get some idea of where our liturgy might be headed (although, by this time, Rite II is another example of where we came from). Each service carries its own implied theology and it is good for us to feel the difference. Mystery and simplicity each carry truth in their own way. It is good for us to enter the unfamiliar and get some idea of how a newcomer might feel. The list goes on. 

The main reason for the change, though, is to help us sit up and pay attention. Over the years we say the same words, week after week, and they become automatic. That’s good at one level, part of the point of liturgy is to inscribe its words on our hearts. It’s also unfortunate, because we say the words so automatically that we forget they have meaning. When we switch the words we say, we have to slow down and pay attention. “It is meet and right so to do,” makes us stop and think, first about the shocking difference, then about the actual meaning of the words (“Meet?” Did they have Zoom back then?), and finally about the truth that they convey – Giving thanks to God is good proper, called for, comes naturally from what God has given us. 

I hope this time of discomfort will help us refocus on what the liturgy means and find new meaning in the common and routine. 

… and with thy spirit.