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Why use five words when you can use five hundred?

Bishop of London portrait

There’s some interesting liturgical development afoot for the Roman Catholic church. The publication of the new Roman Missal takes me back about ten years to my days at Church House Publishing and the publication of Common Worship. No doubt, around the country right now, there are Catholic priests and congregations either trying to weigh up whether to buy new books, manage their own booklets or see how long they can get away with doing nothing; just as Anglican Vicars did ten years ago.

Anyway, I’ve been struck by sheer verbosity this weekend as I’ve followed this news.

The thing that really got my attention was the Bishop of London’s pastoral letter to his clergy in which he takes 2,500 words to say the following:

  • Dear Clergy, when you were ordained and again when you were licensed to your current post, you promised to use ‘only the forms of service which are authorised or allowed by Canon’;
  • The Roman Missal is not an authorised text in the Church of England (neither the old one or the new one);
  • So, my more Catholic friends, don’t be thinking this new book gives you a license to play games with the liturgy. Read more

Revving down?

A still image from the first episode of Rev

One of the great pleasures of televisual entertainment in the last twelve months was the BBC sitcom ‘Rev’. Regular readers will know how much I enjoyed the last series.

As of last night, we are two episodes into the much anticipated (at least in this house) series two.

I find myself trying to comment on the episodes so far and feeling a bit like Solomon stuck between his two warring women.

On the one hand, the series has continued to do its excellent homework and provide a contemporary portrait of life as a clergyman in the 21st century with considerable accuracy and no small degree of humour.

On the other hand, I find myself a bit cheesed off at opportunities missed and a bit of laziness in the laughs. Read more

More thoughts on leading and worship

A cartoon of Homer Simpson's brain with little room for anything but sleep and donuts.

Doug Chaplin has taken up my challenge in discussing further this idea of whether one can lead and worship at the same time. He writes:

this “conundrum” seems to me to suggest an understanding of worship as a human experience of God. I wonder, say, how such an understanding might relate to the idea of priesthood as majoring on the kind of rush-hour chaos of animal slaughter which characterised the Passover in the New Testament period. I wonder also whether the way either David sets the question up depends on an assumption that worship is defined by what the worshipper experiences, rather than what the worshipper offers.

Doug has a really good point. On one level, Read more

Are leading and worshipping compatible?

A cartoon of Homer Simpson's brain with little room for anything but sleep and donuts.

In the summer, I came across a post from The Vernacular Vicar which essentially described a difficulty in being a Priest as he (Fr David Cloake) saw it. Namely that its really hard to both worship and lead others in worship at the same time.

At the time, there was a mixture of reaction in me as I read. There was part of me that feels and expects that it should be possible to both worship and lead others in worship at the same time. Indeed, one might argue, that to truly lead others in worship one must also be worshipping. On the other hand, I knew precisely what he was talking about. The elephant in the room for many leaders of worship (whether ordained or otherwise) is that when you are planning and then trying to lead your people through the journey of the worship, conscious of newcomers and guests, let alone children, keeping one eye on the clock, and another on whether dear ol’ Flo has pocketed her wafer rather than consuming it again, it’s very hard to retain a sense in your heart of worship and the presence of God. Read more