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road rule

liturgy and law 3

road ruleThis is the third in a series on liturgy and law. The first is here. The second is here.

Worship details matter.
We worship together.
Rules, agreements, are part of that.

I have been developing a focus on liturgical rules as best practice. I have argued that unfortunately some/many look at liturgy through a liturgy=legalism lens; and that there is little I can do about that.

With those presuppositions in mind, can we discuss discuss the details of worship practices, worship rules?

A minor example: I tried discussing what colour might be appropriate for a particular service… The response, rather than actually discussing apt colour options and what these might convey to us, for quite a while, instead, centered around that there are things much more important to discuss…

Yes. I agree. Totally.

So does this mean we can only ever talk about war, poverty, and the environment?

IMO: no.

Many just assume that all people interested in liturgy think there is only one answer to the use of colour, for example, in a service. Read my lips: that is false. Liturgical questions are not all solved. Infallibly answered.

Certainly, I may have a current opinion – but I’m pretty open to discussing alternatives.

What colour to use; whether to have flowers, where to put them; how leadership works; how to involve responding (spontaneously, memorised, from books, from screens,…); how to arrange the worship space (sitting in rows in pews only seeing backs of heads, in a semi-circle, in a circle,…); whether to process as a whole community, just the choir, stand, sit, kneel, have everyone choose any posture you feel like…

Yes – they are not at the significance of world peace… but these decisions are being made. By someone (or a group). They are developing into the way this community does things, the bigger community we are part of does things, rules.

Some parts of liturgy intrinsically speak to us (bread, wine, water, flame,…). Other parts are like our road ruleswe have agreed, because liturgy is about action we do together, that this particular way is how we will do this together.

Liturgy is not the private possession of the priest, the worship leader, not even the bishop. Liturgy is something we do together. Rules, agreements, are part of that.

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