Liturgical Juxtaposition

One of the things that I talked about in my dissertation that I’m revisiting as I frame it into a book is the principle of liturgical juxtaposition. That is, one of the ways the liturgy functions is to draw Scripture together—literally placing passages one next to the other—sometimes purposefully, other times accidentally as different cycles draw different texts together, then leaving the participant to tease out connections and relationships between them. Sometimes these come only at a great stretch as we see in some tortured allegories of the liturgy. At other times, they flow effortlessly, naturally, and powerfully.

That was my experience at Morning Prayer today. The Passion from yesterday still ringing in my ears, reading Psalm 72 (on the monthly cycle), a psalm of royal triumph, juxtaposed with the Monday in Holy Week antiphon: “The Lord was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and He opened not His mouth” neatly captured the contrast that will animate the rest of the coming week.

One Reply to “Liturgical Juxtaposition”

  1. Psalm 95 when Holy Saturday falls on the 19th (plus 96 and 97) makes an extraordinary juxtaposition, particularly when you read the passage from Hebrews 4 appointed. It’s like a liturgical Easter egg.

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