Saturday, March 24, 2007

The lost language of worship

There is an interesting article in today's edition of The Telegraph: The lost language of worship

A few excerpts from the article:

"Liturgy - the sum of the signs and gestures and words in the service - says things that words alone cannot. After all, at the institution of the Eucharist during the Last Supper, Jesus said "This is my body" while he was holding up bread offered to God. It was a supreme case of saying less and meaning more.

"The Pope hopes that "everything related to Eucharist should be marked by beauty". We know that music and architecture - a Byrd Mass, say and a Gothic cathedral - reach transcendently high beauty, which, while it reflects the godly work of the Eucharist, appeals to anyone sympathetic to the cultural conventions.

"But most people in Britain today do not take to Byrd and cathedral architecture like ducks to water. They are bored by high culture because they are blind to its language. Worse, they have been led away from any chance of appreciating high culture by being fed noisy, ephemeral, brutish culture. A few hours of hip-hop videos at night-time inoculate against any appeal of renaissance polyphony next morning.

"It is not all high culture in church, nor even the simple, timeless rhythms of ancient liturgies. As the liturgical scholar Dr Alcuin Reid points out: "Modern liturgical practices are defective, and they reinforce people's misunderstanding both of their faith and how the faith should relate to the modern world." In other words, churchgoers misunderstand the content of their faith because the liturgy palmed off on them points them in the wrong direction."

To read the entire article, click the link above.

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