Daily Archives: March 17, 2008

Call for Papers: Daily Office Propaganda

Ok—you asked for it…

One of the purposes of this site is to advocate for liturgically grounded Christian spirituality. Being in the Anglican tradition—particularly the strand that appreciates our catholic and Benedictine roots—that means celebrating the balance of the Mass and the Office. Had I been born in an early time, I imagine I might have been an advocate for the Parish Communion movement that pushed for more common celebration of the Eucharist. I wasn’t, though. With the ’79 American BCP restoring the Eucharist as the normative Sunday liturgy, things (in the States at least) have swung the other way and many current Episcopalians—espeically those not native to the tradition—are unfamiliar with the Daily Office, what it is, and why it matters if we and our parishes do it.

In that vein, I’m inviting submissions of propaganda for the promotion of the Daily Office. I’m thinking of something basic—one page, front & back—that can be handed out, put in a tract rack, discussed, used for a Sunday School/Adult Ed class, etc.

As these come in, I’ll note them here and post them on the Promoting the Daily Office page on the side-bar to maintain a repository of possibilities for printing, replication, and use in YOUR parish.

And while I’ve thrown around the word “Anglican” a couple of times, let’s not forget that the Office belongs to the whole Church and all of the Western Christian traditions have it in their ancestry. Yes, even you Lutherans… Submissions are welcome from all!

Weekend Update (aka Big Rant on the RCL)

Here are two things not to be missed from the weekend…

First is the Lutheran Zephyr’s commentary on two postcards he received from local churches inviting him to Easter services. It seems Jesus is going 0 for 2… I understand not wanting to scare people off, but if we don’t seem to take our faith seriously, why would that inspire someone else to join us?

Second, bls points us to the fresh-out version of the RCL made suitable for your local copy of the BCP. This depresses me…

I’m not a huge fan of the RCL. In fact, I’m of the opinion that all of the “new” lectionaries since Vatican II have missed the mark because they’ve lost sight of—or chosen to ignore—the key issue of function in Mass lectionaries. Yes, it’s good that our congregants are getting more Scriptures on Sunday morning (but huge swaths are still missed—especially the more troubling, complicated, and thought-provoking sections). Yes, it’s good that denominations can share resources across traditions (but we don’t necessarily share theology across denominations and, sad to say, many clergy don’t have a strong enough sense of their own traditions to know when an otherwise good resource contradicts it).

The Mass lectionary is not supposed to be the only place where Christian people encounter Scripture. As I’ve ranted before, the Mass lectionary developed in conversation with the Office lectionary; the Office lectionary worked through the entire Bible every year while the Mass lectionary made selective engagement with the Scriptures to highlight the themes and theologies of the mysteries of redemption embodied in the Temporal cycle. We’ve lost that sense that the Mass lectionary is a pointed return to material that we already know and are re-examining from a different perspective…

The RCL is an attempt to meld the continuous reading strategy of the Office lectionaries with the selected reading strategy of the former Mass lectionaruies. It tries to be too many things and ends up—in my eyes at least—not accomplishing its goals.

One of my biggest frustrations with the scheme Church Publishing has put out is that it keeps both first lesson courses of ordinary time. I think this was a big mistake—they needed to choose one or the other. Either go with the typological set that reinforces the whole point of the Mass lectionary or go with the marginally continuous schema that tries to do what the Office does, but worse. (My prejudice isn’t showing through much, is it?)