Monday, April 13, 2009

Why the Traditional Liturgy

Join in and list the reasons why you believe - or one of your favourite authors believes - the traditional liturgy is appropriate for what the Church and the world need today. If the comments feature doesn't work for you, send me an e-mail and I'll list it for you.

[26 April: Yes, I'm keeping this one up for a while]

Here's why:
1) Its reverent form confronts us with the holiness of God.
2) The implicit hierarchy represents a biblical world view.
3) Its classic formality and beauty beats the weekly attempts at trying to come up with an order of service hands down.
4) It connects us with the universal church across time.
5) The presence of variety in certain elements engages one's interest.
6) The presence of sameness frees one from distractions so that one may focus on the devotional spirit.

See the first chapter in Letters to Malcolm by C. S. Lewis. Lots of good comments there. For example:
[...the traditional liturgy] "works" best - when, through long familiarity, we don't have to think about it.... The perfect church service would be one we were almost unaware of; our attention would have been on God.
Novelty, simply as such, can have only an entertainment value. And they don't go to church to be entertained.... A still worse thing may happen. Novelty may fix our attention not even on the service but on the celebrant.
I can make do with almost any kind of service whatever, if only it will stay put.
Good stuff.


CMWoodall said...

Aesthetics...'Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.'

Distance: The language itself causes us to pay more attention than if we were reciting 21st century English. We have very few words to learn to master the language of traditional liturgy [I assume you mean pre-1979 BCP liturgies]. That short distance gives the divine liturgy a sense of other-ness yet close-ness that is lost in either extreme of Latin or Contemporary liturgies.

Discipline: since we are a priesthood of believers, we all must exercise discipline and buffet our selves to be apt 'worshipers'/'priests making offerings to the true and living God'. If Laxity is the sign of the Dr. Phil's's that workin' for ya?

I could keep going but I'll wait for others to chime in.

DNA001 said...

It's full of scripture!

Michael Saville said...

1. The prayers are biblical and vibrant, and can be an aid to a rich life of corporate prayer (as well as training us in prayer). I would still prefer some free prayer, but I think the pre-composed prayers can be a great help to God's people in many ways.
2. Traditional liturgy incorporates the best of the Christian tradition, and the work of the best liturgists. It's not all left in the hands of the local minister.

TR said...

It is completely Biblically based, and regardless of whether the Minister is extreme evangelical, extreme liberal, or anything else, I can count on being properly prepared for the eucharist through the confession, the supplications, the Lord's prayer etc.

It is not left up to whatever the dizzy ideas of the Minister might be.

As has also been said, I like the idea that it connects me with the universal church across the world, down through the ages.

bob migon said...

Liturgy is also "scale-able" Whether it is two or three gathered in the Lord's name or thousands, we can follow the traditional and biblical pattern of worship