Saturday, February 17, 2007

Book plug & a word on the use of Liturgy

One of the things I am most thankful for in terms of my spiritual formation over the last 5 years is the discovery of liturgy - both the liturgy of our gathered times (for those of us in hOME this means our weekly Eucharist) and also the daily rhythm of fixed hour prayer throughout the week.

For those of us who have grown up in the evangelical world it kinda feels like there was a big family argument before we were born and we grew up being told that our great uncle was a really bad man and we shouldn't have anything to do with him. Then as we got older we found out for ourselves that actually he wasn't a bad man at all, in fact he had a lot of wisdom.

Man, am I glad we are learning to be post-protestant!

Anyway, there are loads of great resources out there. The hOME Chapter has midday prayer as part of it's Rule of Life, and each member of Chapter receives the Church of England's slimline 'Time to Pray' which is helpful. I also find Phyllis Tickle's 3 volume set (above) - The Divine Hours - to be fantastic (the Prayers for Springtime volume has just started at the beginning of Feb). She has 4 forms of prayer for each day - Morning, Midday, Vespers, and Compline. And what's really great is that all the text is printed out in each form so there's no flipping from one page to another.

Vaux in London have also started an online resource for the sharing of new liturgy . It's called The Open Office. Check it out.

And for those of you who've never seen the appeal or benefit of liturgy I would say this: it takes time...time to get used to it, time to allow the rhythm of it to seep into your bones, time to get past feeling like it's just reading words off a page. Like some of the most exquisite things - it can be an acquired taste. But 4000+ years of Judaeo-Christian practice can't be wrong surely?

I always found it intriguing that some really low church, charismatic, house-church types, who bemoaned the use of liturgy (some of them left our little church largely because of it) because it apparently wasn't spontaneous enough would quite happily sing the same songs, with the same set words, week after week. Never did understand that!


Ben said...

My godmother gave me "time to pray" last year. Just love using it. Great description of liturgy too. Thanks.

Kyle said...

Yah - no kidding.