Saturday, August 06, 2005

a closer look: the lord's prayer

i didn't come from a very liturgical church. i mean, we were baptists. we stood up to sing a hymn, we sat down to listen to the preaching. that was it. after the first hymn, though (in black churches, you gotta have at least 3 rocking songs to have a successful service), we usually recited psalm 100 together. but again, that was the only element we had that resembled 'liturgy.'

where i am now, the liturgy of the service carries me from the beginning of the brass toccata to the closing benediction. somewhere between the sermon and the offering, we recite the lord's prayer. i remember memorizing this when i first attended st. andrews in ann arbor. i was a little snobby about it: 'huh, we recite instead of praying our own. lame.'

i thought the rote elements of liturgy was a way of shunning concentration on God. that it was lazy. and perhaps it is for some; on sundays perhaps there are some who just float on the familiar words and rites we say and practice every week. but there is something to repetition. there is a meditation in it; a reaffirming power, a vow.

over at Jesus Creed he has a little lesson on the lord's prayer - what's in it, how it relates to christian community.

go visit.


john patrick said...

There is liturgy that is empty. There is liturgy that is lazy.
There is liturgy that is comforting.
There is liturgy that is supersticious ritual.
And, every once in a while, there is liturgy that is ALIVE.

The problem, though, is that liturgy that is ALIVE is really easy to hijack, really easy to dismiss, really easy to explain away.

Also, participants can see really good liturgy for years and never know what it is that makes it work.

Often, good liturgy smells subversive to the authorities.

Apostle John said...

I often use prayers from the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church. I find it comforting to use prayers that are void of my ego.