I noticed that the language in the liturgy during Advent changed from what I am accustomed to and I’m worried that we won’t be using our old familiar language going forward. Why did it change and what should I expect going forward in our language during the liturgy?
During Advent we used language from Enriching Our Worship, Volume 1, a set of alternative rites authorized by General Convention and published in 1997. This volume actually is the fourth of a series of similar sets of authorized rites published in the 90’s under the name Supplemental Liturgical Materials. General Convention has now authorized five volumes in this series. These rites seek to expand the language and metaphors we use to speak about God. Certainly one hope in our use of these rites is to honor the prayer experience of women and the fact of our transformation from a primarily rural to a primarily urban culture, while remaining faithful to our traditional norms of prayer. In addition, some of the language in these rites arises from the effort to move closer to the imagery of the early Church. The language speaks to the diversity of the Episcopal Church today, especially in the sense that some of us are steeped in the traditional language of the Church and some of us are relatively new to the Church.
It has been the custom of recent rectors at St. Thomas’ to use language from these alternative rites during Advent. During Advent 2010 we used that language at the beginning and end of the liturgies (such as the post-communion prayer) rather than in the Eucharistic Prayer, which probably accounts for the experience that something had changed.
St. Thomas’ has in recent years varied the Eucharistic Prayers with the liturgical season. This is good liturgical practice. Going forward, we will continue the pattern of using a mix of Enriching Our Worship and Prayer B during Advent, Prayer B during Christmas and Epiphany, Prayer A during Lent, Prayer D during Eastertide, and Prayers A, C, or alternative rites during the summer.
Thu, January 20, 2011
by Fr Craig David Uffman filed under