This is the third post in a series. I encourage you to read these first:
Countercultural Worship
Liturgical Individualism

This series responds to a priest describing Gen Y/Millennials, and people moving from other denominations into Anglicanism, complaining about saying the same words together in worship and deploring the same words, the same prayer, being used for each individual.

I was recently (by Fr Richard Peers) reintroduced to Thich Nhat Hanh’s coining of “interbeing” – the concept of interconnectedness of our (human) nature. It helpfully reflects on “of one being” in the Nicene Creed (Latin: consubstantiálem; Greek: ὁμοούσιον; 2010 English translation of RC Missal: consubstantial) – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit share “interbeing”.

There is a new book out about the interconnectedness of trees. Suzanne Simard’s book, Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest is not some ‘New Age’ un/anti-scientific mumbo-jumbo. She has used radioactive isotopes of carbon and traced the way trees share resources and information with one another through an intricately interconnected network of mycorrhizal fungi in the tree roots. Trees are social beings, exchanging nutrients, helping each other, and communicating about insect pests and other threats. Trees recognise their own kin and care for vulnerable saplings.

Our overemphasising of individualism and ignoring of interbeing leads to environmental destruction and human desolation. One of the purposes and results of good liturgy – etymologically work of and for the people A UNITED PLURAL – is to restore the interbeing of individuals, to immerse (etymologically linked to ‘baptism’) individuals into the one Body of Christ which is united to the interbeing of God.

Liturgical practice that reinforces cultural individualism at the expense of interbeing is self-destructive. Literally. Like the trees, we are made for interbeing. An individual not immersed in interbeing is losing your very nature.

[I told you I would explain why the image on the first post in this series shows trees.]

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