RSS feed follow liturgy on twitter be a fan on Facebook

Welcome to the “new format” Liturgy website.

This is an ecumenical website of resources and reflections on liturgy, spirituality, and worship for individuals and communities. It is run by Rev. Bosco Peters.

Author Archives: Bosco Peters

God Speaks From The Bible

Lectionary readings

In worship, we conclude reading from and listening to the Bible with the declaration that this is “The Word of the Lord”, or “Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.”

The Reformation heritage has that God speaks to individuals (and communities) through the Bible. But again and again I see pastors, worship leaders, and preachers effectively deny and undermine this Reformation insight in their practice.

1) They reduce the number of readings provided by the Revised Common Lectionary in order to be able to preach on all that is read. They will not have something read from the Bible without explaining it in the sermon. Or

2) They don’t have readings from the Bible at all, but only quote from the Bible to illustrate points within their sermon.

The real message that congregants receive is that they cannot be trusted to hear God speaking through the Bible. Everything has to be interpreted by the pastor, by the preacher. The real message is that this community is not open to listening to God speaking to individuals and the community through a reading from the Bible without any further preacher’s reflection or pastor’s interpretation.

Good liturgy has quite a different approach. The Revised Common Lectionary provides three readings and a psalm for the community and individuals to engage with. These readings mostly are unconnected to each other within that service, and what speaks to one person may not be the message for another. The intent in liturgy is that we listen together to what God is saying through the Bible. The sermon merely adds another pebble into the rippling pond of the service. The sermon is not the sole conduit for God’s message through which the Bible’s texts must pass.

Those who most strongly say they stand on the Reformation are often the worst violators of letting the Bible speak unfiltered.

This is the insight of Roman Catholicism in the Second Vatican Council, the insight that led to the three year lectionary and the Revised Common Lectionary:

in the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven meets His children with great love and speaks with them; and the force and power in the word of God is so great that it stands as the support and energy of the Church, the strength of faith for her [members], the food of the soul, the pure and everlasting source of spiritual life. Consequently these words are perfectly applicable to Sacred Scripture: “For the word of God is living and active” (Heb. 4:12) and “it has power to build you up and give you your heritage among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32; see 1 Thess. 2:13).


What is Liturgy?


Too often I get the impression that when people think of, hear, or use the word ‘liturgy’, what springs to mind are: lavish processions, a robed choir, incense, reciting texts together from a book (or a screen). So you end up with people saying, “Our church is not very liturgical.” Or, “We don’t use liturgy…


Amending the Baptism Rite – Now What?

hand in water

This blog post looks at the NZ baptism rite, and what General Synod wants to fix, and that the dioceses are not keen on its “solution” describes some of bigger problems with the rite gives my sketch for one way forward if a revision is being considered. You will find my first draft of a…


Websites of Note


Here are some websites worth a look. You might have others that you would recommend that you can add in the comments below. Dear Pope Francis A fascinating format for a blog – Kevin writes a daily letter addressed to Pope Francis. Dear Pope Francis began in June 2013. Unfortunately there has been a hiatus…


Article 20 – Against the Grain?

Grain in wood

XX. OF THE AUTHORITY OF THE CHURCH THE Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and authority in Controversies of Faith: And yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is contrary to God’s Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant…


Jesus Speaks Italian?

Pope Francis

Many people who travel notice different attitudes to the law – a Polish attitude to law, an English approach, a South American approach, a German approach, an Italian approach… Watch, in different countries, what people do if they are in a car and there’s a red light but no other car anywhere in sight… Similarly,…


Learning From A Digital Game

sharing a game

Recently someone enthused to me about a digital game (no, I’m not going to distract from the point of this story by naming the game). It costs a little. They said that they would give me the money back if I didn’t like it. Of course, I loved it. And soon was speaking to others…